Last Updated:Saturday - 12/11/2010
December 3, 2007
Peace flourishes where the will of God is carried out
Scripture For Advent
Isaiah's messianic text (11:1-10) heralds the coming of the Messiah, that is, the anointed one, who will bring peace to a troubled people. The Messiah will inaugurate a new era for the people of God. The calm and rest that he will bring will be reminiscent of the peacefulness of the garden of Eden prior to the advent of original sin.
Isaiah paints for us, a wonderful picture that is inconceivable to our world. He sees wolves lying next to lambs and leopards with young goats and more disturbingly, a nursing child playing over the hole of the asp and a weaned child with its hand on the adder's den.
However, it is clear from reading Isaiah's text that nothing will happen to any living creature. Every living thing will be compatible and comfortable with each other. This harmony will be the sign that the Messiah has inaugurated a new world order that belongs to the glorious kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God is the goal and future of all the people of God. It begins on earth. The psalmist in his royal psalm, Psalm 72, captures the essence of God's regal world. It is a place where righteousness and peace flourish and where the will of God is carried out, so perfectly, that the weak and the poor are looked after as soon as they call for help.
The psalmist's words are in fact a prayer for a new historical king. The hope of the psalmist is that the king will exact kingship in a way that mirrors the heavenly reign of God.
Interestingly, centuries later, the psalmist's words were re-interpreted by Christians, who saw in them a direct reference to Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, who royally dispensed justice and peace for all.
Paul's words to the Romans connect well with the Old Testament Sunday readings. Paul stresses the importance of embracing Scripture as a source of hope. Hopefulness for Paul was realized in steadfastness to what was taught to be true regarding God's promises and the way of life associated with them.
Christians don't walk the path to God alone, they walk it with others.
Active fellowship within the Christian community demands that Christians welcome others as Christ has welcomed them. Christians are called to walk in harmony with one another, encouraging each other, so that together, they may with one voice glorify God.
The importance of glorifying God is crucial to fulfilling who we are called to be. In the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist did this through his own prophetic ministry of being the voice that testified to the one who was coming after him, that is, the Lord.
John was the precursor of Christ. He prepared the way for his cousin, the Messiah, who would baptize not with water but with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John the Baptist then, is the last prophetic herald, before the advent of Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah who would fulfill and surpass the hope of Isaiah and our psalmist today and serve as a model for Paul and all Christians everywhere, to be people of peace and justice, reflection and hope and faithfulness and encouragement.
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