(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6
I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. (Luke 3:16)
If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in a mostly flat area, the sensation of driving up a steep hill and suddenly not being able to see the road ahead of you can be frightening—at least until you realize that there is more road after the hill crests! After a while, you get used to that feeling, but the sense of nervousness or excitement at the top never quite goes away.
This sensation can help us look at today’s Gospel reading. When John the Baptist gave the people a road map for how they should act, it must have felt like a dead end to some of them. They wanted to follow his preaching, but they knew it would be hard to change their behaviors—and in some instances, their jobs—in order to live out the justice he had proclaimed.
It must have also felt like a dead end when John told the crowd that he wasn’t the Messiah. You can imagine some wondering if they had been following the wrong person all along!
But John helped them see the magnificence of the road ahead by telling them that the Messiah was indeed coming—and that John, as great a prophet as he was, wasn’t even fit to loosen the thong of his sandals.
Sometimes the road ahead looks a lot like a dead end. Other times we may feel too exhausted to make it over the next hill. But at each juncture, the Lord is there to tell us that a pleasant downhill lies ahead. And not only that, but he reminds us that Jesus is the “one mightier” than John the Baptist (Luke 3:16). He doesn’t just cheer us on; he empowers us with his Spirit. He who is in you is strong and mighty. Ask him to give you heavenly strength.
“Lord, strengthen me when the road gets hilly. Help me to stay on the path, look past the dead ends, and see the glorious road ahead.”~WAU