Saturday, December 19, 2009

John's Birth (Section 4b of the Nameless Luke Advent Thingee)

A Second Chance of Faith

I can’t believe how long Luke 1 is. Sometimes the passages seem awkward. They seem like a detour from the point. Let’s get to Jesus already! But there’s a point to this. There’s tension in the waiting. And the lessons for us are significant. As you read this next passage, take in the sights and sounds. Don’t just read the passage; hear it.

Read Luke 1.57-66

Did you hear it? There’s a buzz. Neighbors are talking and meddling – trying to name someone else’s kid. In fact, we hear in v. 64 that Zechariah’s tongue has been loosed. And he can’t get a word in until v. 67. There’s too much going on.

This is the season of buzz. I’m feeling the pressure. There’s still a couple more gifts to buy and then send off. There’s wondering about that ‘right gift’ for certain people. This is where the meaning of the season can get lost. We end up focusing on the buzz rather than focusing on Jesus the Messiah.

There’s a point to this passage, I think. Zechariah and Elizabeth are in the midst of this buzz and there’s an expectation that they would name the child in line with the cultural expectations – after dad or a grandfather. And they were feeling the heat.

They’re at a crossroad again. Will Zechariah seize this second chance of faith, or will he doubt again? No surprise. You’ve read it. He obeys God. He passes this second test. The name is John – just like God said. They stood against the pressure amid the buzz.

The general principle here is to stay true to what God is calling you to despite the cultural pressure. That’s a principle that one can apply anytime.

But it’s pretty pertinent right now. Today. The buzz of the Christmas/holiday season is intense. We may be tempted to cave to the cultural pressure to celebrate it with stuff and non-Christ-centered frivolity.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have fun at Christmas, but stay clear. Stay focused. Don’t be distracted by the buzz. Cut through it and make sure you worship Jesus passionately this Christmas.

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