Lectionary Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent

This excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 3:1-6:

To anyone familiar with the Jewish scriptures there was something about John the Baptist that ineluctably echoed the prophets of old. For one thing, the “word” (rhēma) or revelation came to John in the desert. This already has a prophetic connotation (cf. Jer. 1:1-14).

For another, it wasn’t just that John preached the need to repent. It was, at least in part, that he preached it out in the desert, “in the wilderness” (Luke 3:2).

Luke makes explicit the connection of John to Isaiah, citing an evidently messianic passage (Isa. 40:3-5). Here Luke puts together the judgment voice of Isaiah’s condemnation of Israel and calling it to repentance (cf. Isa. 11) with the consolatory mood of Isa. 40 (“comfort ye my people”) in a striking juxtaposition.

John is here not only acting, as Malachi had predicted, as an agent to turn “the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6; Luke 7:27), but in a more radically transgenerational way calling the dispirited and scattered Israel of his time to repent.

Then he invites the penitents to be baptized as a sign of cleansing from their sins so that these individuals may become the faithful Israel long ago covenanted in a spiritual marriage to Israel’s most holy God.


©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.