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Faith Daily | 9 December 2021

PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Two APBA p466

Merciful God,

who sent your messenger John the Baptist

to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:

give us grace to heed his warning and forsake our sins,

that we may greet with joy the coming of our Redeemer,

Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 11: 11-15

11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; 14and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15Let anyone with ears listen!

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev'd Jan

There is real fascination in focusing on John the Baptist in Advent – and through the Lectionary we do have that focus, on Sundays and other days. And although we are curious about his weird lifestyle, and the reality he was Jesus’ cousin, he brings our attention to the reality that he, John, only existed to point, and prepare, the way to Jesus. Not only that, his proclamation of Jesus as Messiah slams the lid on all the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures. There is no more need for prophecy of God’s intention. There is only one intention now, there is only one revelation. Jesus the Christ.

It is not empty praise from Jesus (as if there ever could be) to say that no human born is greater than John the Baptist. John was the necessary bridge, connector, to the Old and New Covenants. His very existence was essential to herald the Messianic era. And there is no untruth from Jesus (as if there ever could be) to say, in the same sentence ‘yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.’ John’s job is done, purpose complete - and all of us in the kingdom need to find our purpose now as we reidentify in Christ. This can only be if we accept with joy the same mantle as John the Baptist…..

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

FINAL PRAYER: Jim Cotter “Unfolding the Living Word”

The ancient vision burned through your eyes,

you yearned for freedom from captivity.

Your people of old were burdened by Pharaoh,

held down by Egypt’s power.

The people of your time were oppressed by an emperor,

weighed down by the yoke of Rome.

Your voice rang clear in the desert air,

calling them to cross the Jordan again.

They flocked to you in the wilderness,

and assembled on the banks of the river.

You drenched them with water as they passed over,

cleansing their hearts, giving them hope.

They returned to their homes, to wait and to pray,

that their deliverer would suddenly come from on high,

the liberator who would crush their enemies,

freeing them from the powers that ensnared them.

They looked for a warrior,

but he did not come.

They longed for a king,

but they were given an outcast.

They expected violence and victory,

they were challenged to pay the cost of justice and peace.

They expected a throne and a parade,

they received a cradle and a cross.

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