Monday, December 31, 2007

Coming Soon: Matthew 3:1-12

The roaring preacher strikes again. This week we hear the voice of John the Baptist cry out again, "You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from God's judgment?"
Lots of fun and happy times in church this Sunday!

As I read the text for this Sunday's sermon (Matthew 3:1-12), a thought hit me. Matthew quotes Isaiah 40: "He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the LORD's coming! Clear the road for him.'" I remember from another place (maybe a psalm) that righteousness will go before the LORD and prepare the way for him. That has always made lots of sense to me. Maybe righteous living prepares people to accept God and his kingdom. Maybe it prepares us and prepares other people. Maybe the Kingdom is always "at hand" and is just waiting for us to get out of the way so that it can come. And that brings me to the thought that hit me today. Maybe WE are in the way. Maybe WE are the obstacles in the path of God's Kingdom coming into our world. Maybe it is us, our sin, our systems, which are blocking God and God's Kingdom out of our world. Maybe repentance means getting ourselves out of God's way. Maybe repentance means actually obeying the truth that we already have so that we can experience the Kingdom of God in ways we have never yet seen.

How are we in God's way today?
Who are the Pharisees and Sadducees of our world?
I think it must have been pretty shocking for the people to hear John call their religious leaders a bunch of snakes. How would we feel if John called our pastors and denominational leaders a "bunch of snakes"? How might John be right if he said that today? Clearly, these religious leaders had God's Kingdom all wrong. How might we (and our leaders) have it all wrong today? How might we be leading our people into being IN God's way instead of preparing the way for God?
What do you think? Give me your feedback.
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