Third Week of Advent – Thursday – Accept the Fullness of God’s Plan

Third Week of Advent – Thursday – Accept the Fullness of God’s Plan

John the Baptist holds a distinct honor in the Gospels in that he inaugurates Jesus’ public ministry. He foresees Jesus’ coming long before anyone else recognizes him. John’s prophetic witness is unmatched. His convictions are more genuine and faith more steadfast than anyone else in the Gospel aside from Christ himself. “Yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Lk 7:28).

Jesus’ statement about John does not reveal a low opinion of the Messiah’s forerunner. Quite the opposite is true. Jesus’ declaration raises God’s expectations of how we understand and accept our own Christian vocations.

Those who approached John in faith knew his baptism made them whole again. His baptism removed their sins. Their hope was to restore their relationship with God. They wanted to be as God created them and originally intended them to be: His holy and faithful people. Jesus takes their expectations and elevates them to a divine level.
Herein lies the great scandal of the Pharisees’ rejection of John’s baptism. Not only have they rejected God’s pardon (if they even recognize a need for pardon). They also fail to receive the ultimate gift of Christ: deification. These faithful people, however great their sins, come seeking reconciliation. They find God’s saving power in John’s baptism. And beyond that monumental conversion, God also makes them like Him.
He restores them and elevates them to a share in His life.

As we move closer to the Christmas Season, let us spend this remaining time contemplating what it means for Christ to take on our flesh. In doing so, he takes away our sins. Yet, Jesus’ act of removing sin from our human nature is only a footnote compared to what he adds to it: God’s very self.

Augustine OP