If someone is coming to your house, a special guest, don’t you want to put your best foot forward? If you’re going on a date, don’t you want to look your best?
15 The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16 John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. – Luke 3: 15-17
John the Baptist, after calling the folks gathered at the Jordan River snakes, encourages them to change, to become the people God made them to be. Why? A special guest is coming. And not just any guest, The Guest – The Son of God, God incarnate. Wow. Just wow.
I thought there was a lot of work to be done when we were expecting our first child to be born. I’m trying to imagine what it would be like at my house if we knew Jesus was coming for dinner. We’d be cleaning for days. All those tiny repairs that have been put off would get done. The deck would get sealed and stained, the fence would get painted. We’d probably all get haircuts. You get the point.
John’s point isn’t about getting ready physically to meet Jesus. It’s about getting our act together with our lives. God knows what you’ve done.
But here’s the beauty, God is coming anyway. God is coming into our mess, loving us right where we are. It’s also been said that God loves us too much to leave us there.
John’s solution for getting ready to meet Jesus? (For the first time, or again) Do the right thing. Be ethical at work, help those in need. If someone need a coat, give it to them. If someone needs food, give it to them. Do your best at what God calls you to do.
And to be fair God knows that’s all we can do, and from my perspective, it’s the least we can do to get ready to meet Jesus, in the manger, in the boat, in worship, at work, and in our homes.
Prayer: Lord, we have been less than we ought to be, yet you love us anyway. We want to be our best for you, not for show, but simply inspired by your love and grace. Reveal yourself to us, where there is need around us, may we provide for those needs from the abundance you have blessed us with. Use us to show your love and grace to the world. We may never be fully ready to meet you, yet you come to us anyway. This is your grace. This is because of your love. Thank you. Amen.