Advent Devotional • December 8

Sunday, December 8
Matthew 3:1-12

The Proclamation of John the Baptist
In those days John the Baptist
appeared in the wilderness of Judea,
proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of
heaven has come near.’ This is the one of
whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” ’
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a
leather belt around his waist, and his food was
locusts and wild honey. Then the people of
Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to
him, and all the region along the Jordan, and
they were baptized by him in the river Jordan,
confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and
Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to
them, ‘You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the wrath
to come? Bear fruit worthy of
repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves,
“We have Abraham as our ancestor”;
for I tell you, God is able from these stones to
raise up children to Abraham. Even now the
ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree
therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut
down and thrown into the fire.
‘I baptize you with water for
repentance, but one who is more
powerful than I is coming after me; I am not
worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize
you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His
winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear
his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat
into the
granary; but the chaff he will burn with
unquenchable fire.’

Journal Prompt:

Read the above text from Matthew 3:1-12. There is strong, graphic imagery in this passage. What is your initial reaction to it? Write down your gut reaction. Read it again. Did anything change upon a second reading? Were your initial feelings strengthened? Read it one more time, and journal any insights that this story about John the Baptist might have revealed.



You can download a PDF of the devotional here.

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