Today's Scripture: Luke 8:1-3 (read)
Advent is a season of anticipation. The people of God had long anticipated the coming of the Messiah. When he came in the form of a baby in Bethlehem and grew to be a worker of miracles, many rejoiced and eagerly accepted Him. Others, however, not only did not believe him, they thought him to be a charlatan and deceiver. His greatest opposition came from the religious leaders who controlled the synagogues and centers of worship. Jesus did not conform to their definitions of devotion and worship, so he soon became the object of their anger and hatred.
In this advent passage, we encounter Jesus' responding to the pressure of those who opposed him. As William Barkley puts it: "The time which we saw coming has now come." Jesus took his message of grace and forgiveness from the synagogues to the open roads, hillsides and lake shores. He "traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God." I don't think it was accidental that he was symbolically portraying that the good news was for everyone, not just those who occupy positions of leadership in the churches and centers of worship.
Now we not only celebrate his coming the first time, we also anticipate his coming again. As Jesus took his message from the churched few to the open roads of the multitudes, we must do the same in this Advent season. The miracle of new life can be reproduced in the lives of those who don't yet know him. Let's make this advent a season an anticipation of new life in Christ for many.
Verlyn Bergen is co-founder of MinistryConnect and Future Leadership Foundation and is a member of the Churchnet leadership team.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.