In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
During the Advent Season, we are asked to reflect on God’s arrival into our world. We start by thinking first about Jesus’ second coming at the end of times and we then inflect to start thinking about Jesus’ original arrival at Christmas. For those that doubt, the Bible is filled with historical references, celestial signs, and ancient Messianic Prophesies. There is no debating where Jesus arrived, what towns He visited, what Miracles He performed, who was in power specifically at the time (identified by name), etc. Roman and Jewish Historians refer to Jesus’ Miracles (e.g. magic) and Crucifixion and other Historians in Greece, Europe, and Asia talk about the global earthquake and blood red moon that arrived at His death. Jesus Christ, as Promised, fulfilled over 100 Messianic Prophecies. If He would have just fulfilled seven (7) of them, the odds that He did that without being God would be 1038 or “1 in a 100 billion, billion, billion, billion” (e.g. Jesus would be a descendant of David (104 or “1 in 10,000”), Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (105 or “1 in 100,000”), Jesus would be a Miracle Worker (105 or “1 in 100,000”), Jesus would present Himself as King riding on a donkey (106 or “1 in 1,000,000”), Jesus would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver (106 or “1 in 1,000,000”), Jesus would be crucified (106 or “1 in 1,000,000”), and Jesus would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem (106 or “1 in 1,000,000”). If you are really seeking for Signs of God, then you will discover Him – both as the Creator of the Universe and as Jesus Christ. God wants us to discover Him, but He wants us to act – to “discover”. Once we find God, we can allow Him to enter fully into our hearts and then more broadly into our lives. And, that Discovery will open our eyes and our hearts to a much deeper Advent and Christmas Season experience. So, whatever stage in our Faith Walks we are at, let’s all strive (with some Guidance from the Holy Spirit) into a deeper understanding of who God is, how He acts in our lives, and who we are in Him. That brings us all to a much simpler Christmas and a time of awesome rejoicing where “O come, O come Emmanuel” takes on a whole new meaning.