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Let The Light Shine Through

...he went into al the region of the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
Luke 3:1-6

Sermon Topic Roots

Sermon Week Second Sunday of Advent Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 3:3


The owner of a greenhouse hired a young gardener whom he had judged to be careful, methodical and a hard worker. Although the owner's judgment proved to be correct, nevertheless the greenhouse plants didn't prosper under his care. Then the owner called in a more experienced gardener to remedy the situation. Soon the plants began to grow larger and healthier. The employer was gratified, but puzzled. "What made the difference?" he asked the first gardener. "Why didn't the plants thrive under your care?" The young man explained the lesson he had learned: "When I transplanted plants," he said, "I removed them carefully from their pots. I disturbed them as little as possible. But the new man didn't treat them that way. He was rough with them -- as though he wanted to disturb their roots. I thought he was being careless and the plants he handled would never grow larger and healthier. But, as you can see, they are growing beautifully because he loosened their tightly-packed roots. To give them new life, he opened them up at their roots."

The New Testament writers tell us that God is like that with His people. He wants His people to thrive. He wants His people to grow beautifully. And toward that end, he sometimes handles them gently. But there are times when He handles them "roughly," so to speak; times when He wants to disturb their roots; times when, in Biblical language, He calls His people to repentance -- as we can see, for example, in today's Gospel Lesson:

The Word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into al the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Lk. 3:2-3).

Matthew's Gospel tells us that after Jesus came out of the wilderness (where He had been tempted by the devil), He began His public ministry. And the very first word that Matthew quotes from Jesus' preaching is "repent." It's a tough word. It's a demanding word. It's a "grab-them-by-the-shoulders-and-shake-them-up" word. It's a disturbing word. If we understand [...]

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