Wednesday, Advent, Week Three

Isaiah 45:6c-8,18 21b-25
Luke 7:18b-23

We’re back to the Prophet Isaiah for our first reading today. Our anticipation of the coming of the Messiah gains momentum and Isaiah contrasts God’s powers with those of the popular Babylonian gods:

Apart from me all is nothing.
I am the Lord, unrivalled,
I form the light and create the dark.
I make good fortune and create calamity,
it is I the Lord who do all this.

Throughout the story of salvation what distinguishes the God of the Israelites from the gods of the surrounding cultures is action. The God of the Israelites makes things happen. When the Israelites found themselves in Exile they began to lose heart and to wonder if God would act again on their behalf. God’s message is clear: if the people turn to him, then they will be saved.

‘Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth,
for I am God unrivalled.’

The Gospel text for today, Luke 7:19-23, picks up the theme of the longed-for Saviour. When John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus ‘Are you the one who is to come?’, Jesus can point to his actions as proof that the Messianic Age has begun. In the person of Jesus God’s Kingdom breaks through into every sphere of life. For Luke’s hearers, community is the place where God’s incarnate love is made manifest.

It’s easy for us today to miss those signs of the Kingdom. Sometimes all it takes is for us to consciously look for those tiny glimmers of hope. I’m a great believer in the cumulative effect of small acts of kindness. Today’s readings challenge us to put our full trust in God as Saviour, the God whose actions transform the world.

How can you be a bearer of God’s incarnate love today?