In the days of Jesus Palestine was occupied by the Roman Empire. Some 5% of the population controlled virtually all the wealth. These wealthy elite, mostly Roman politicians, made all the decisions that affected common people's lives. And what do you read about in the Bible? Hunger, disease and demon possession. Have you never wondered why such realities were so rampant in Jesus' day?
On this third Sunday of Advent we return to John the Baptist, and our prayers for the fullness of God's presence in our lives continue. This week, however, we read from the Gospel of John, not the Gospel of Mark. Yet, the point is the same. "Those who sent us." Who might they be? Obviously, it is those in power who first see the danger in John the Baptist's proclamation, and they want to know who he is and from what power base he speaks.
There is no power in John save for the truth. John is not a prophet. He is not the Messiah Israel longs for. John is just a voice, one voice - like you or like me.
Will we acknowledge with John the wilderness of our reality? Will we, like he, speak truth when those in power pursue us?
Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever. Amen.