First Saturday of Advent
Reading: Mark 11:27-33
Reflection: There will always be those who want to control God’s work in God’s people. There will always be those who challenge the work that God is doing. Many of these resisters will be those who believe that they speak in God’s name, and it can be tough to stay faithful to the vision of God’s reign in the face of this opposition. Jesus knew what this felt like, but as he was challenged on the question of authority, he pointed to John. The religious leaders, although they had not taken John’s message to heart, knew what an impact he had, and how strong his following had been, and they could not risk the displeasure of the people. So, they give Jesus a lame answer which entitles Jesus to refuse to answer their question of his own authority. It was a confident Jesus, secure in his message and mission, that could do this.
For us the challenge of this story is twofold. Firstly, we need to ask ourselves, like the religious leaders, whether we accept the authority of John’s and Jesus’ message. This is not just about an intellectual idea that we agree with. It’s about how we will orient our lives – will we allow God’s reign to be the defining force for us? Then, secondly, we are challenged to stand along with Jesus in the confidence that God’s reign gives us as we seek to bring God’s grace, peace, love and justice into our world.
Where could you use a little more of God’s confidence as you seek to follow Christ? In what ways can your life embody the message of God’s reign a little more? How can you open your heart to God’s presence today, so that God can inspire and empower you?
Prayer: It’s a scary thing to be asked to follow you, Jesus. Sometimes my love for you brings me into confrontations with others who don’t embrace your values, or don’t believe in your ways. Sometimes people accuse me of doing things I have no right to, or they claim I’m in over my head – and sometimes they may even be right! But, all I want to do is follow you, Jesus, and live out, in my small way, the principles of your reign. Keep me strong and faithful, Jesus, and please let your grace and truth be seen in me. Amen.