Advent stories and messages from around the world
“Telephone, Telegraph, Tele (Everyone!)”
Second Sunday in Advent
When I was much younger, my friends and I had a saying for someone who gossiped or couldn’t keep a secret. The expression went like this, “Telephone, Telegraph, and Tele—–.” Then, for the last tele, we would insert the persons’ name. So, conversations went like this. “You can’t tell (person’s name) anything in confidence. You know they are one of the three forms of communication, telephone, telegraph, and tele (person’s name).”
This banter was always meant to be funny and not mean-spirited to the person we talked about. At times someone in our group of friends would be would one of those avid communicators, and we’d say it out loud in front of them. For some reason, if it was a female, she always hit me in the shoulder and said, “Shut up, Joe, I do not gossip!” 😊
There are times to keep secrets, and there are times to tell the world what you know. But, when it comes to talking about Jesus and all that He has done for us, it’s always a time to tell the world.
Before Jesus began His formal ministry, the prophet on the scene with a message from God was John the Baptist. John was actually Jesus’ cousin. God sent John the Baptist to pave the way for Jesus’ ministry.
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’ Isaiah 40:3-5
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words, John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.” Luke 3:1-18
When people came to hear John the Baptist speak, they didn’t realize at first that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy (see above).
John never pretended to be anything other than he was. John even said, “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”
John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. But again, he made sure people understood that he was not the Messiah. John said, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Directly prophesying what would happen on the day of Pentecost.)
Just 30 years ago, our ways of communicating with others were limited. Today we can send a message that will go out to millions of people (whether they want to or not) with the touch on our phone screen.
John the Baptist brought a message from God. Thousands of people flocked to him in person to hear the Good News that was part of the beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ.
There is no wrong way to communicate the Word of God to others. Some people like Pastors and Priests and laypeople, like you and me, share the Gospel verbally. Others do so through acts of kindness and service to others. Still, like me, others communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the written word. While many tell Jesus’ story through the combination of all of the above. Like John the Baptist, the important thing is that we tell others about God’s grace and how He sent His Son Jesus to save us from our sin. And, through Faith in that fact, we are saved and will someday live eternally with our Father in heaven.
Dear Lord, thank you for the many ways you communicate with us. Sometimes it directly, other times through someone us, and other times through a whisper of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for all the prophets who gave the world hope, the hope of a Savior, your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen