Advent Devotion - Day 8


December 4, 2022

Join us through this special time of Advent as we dive deeper into the Word of God. Each day, we will pray and reflect on a different passage from Scripture. Daily Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, and reflections are written by our church staff.

Opening Prayer:

God of timeless grace,
you fill us with joyful expectation.
Make us ready for the message that prepares the way,
that with uprightness of heart and holy joy
we may eagerly await the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

(Revised Common Lectionary Prayers © 2002)

Scripture Reading:

Matthew 3:1-12

1 In those days John the Baptist came and preached in the Desert of Judea. 2 He said, “Turn away from your sins! The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 John is the one Isaiah the prophet had spoken about. He had said,

   “A messenger is calling out in the desert,
   ‘Prepare the way for the Lord.  
   Make straight paths for him.’” (Isaiah 40:3)

4 John’s clothes were made out of camel’s hair. He had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea. They also came from the whole area around the Jordan River. 6 When they confessed their sins, John baptized them in the Jordan.

7 John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing. He said to them, “You are like a nest of poisonous snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming of God’s anger? 8 Live in a way that shows you have turned away from your sins. 9 Don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you, God can raise up children for Abraham even from these stones. 10 The ax is ready to cut the roots of the trees. All the trees that don’t produce good fruit will be cut down. They will be thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water, calling you to turn away from your sins. But after me, someone is coming who is more powerful than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His pitchfork is in his hand to clear the straw from his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the storeroom. But he will burn up the husks with fire that can’t be put out.”


When my son was a toddler, he couldn’t stand it if his hands got dirty. Whether it was food crumbs, dirt, or sticky candy residue, he would hold his hands out as far away from his body as possible and yell, “MESSY!” We would come to his rescue with a wet wipe or a trip to the sink to find some soap and water to remove the offensive matter. As soon as his hands were clean again, he would happily go on about his day. The scripture reading from today reminds me of these times years ago with my son when he was happy if his hands were clean.

John the Baptist was the messenger who had come to prepare the way for Jesus. His message to the people was to repent and be baptized. When some of the people came forward to be baptized, specifically the Sadducees and Pharisees, he rebuked them. Why? John the Baptist knew that until true repentance had happened on the inside, the outward cleansing of baptism was a meaningless act. To repent is “to turn.” It is turning away from sin and turning to God.

When you wash dirty hands, the results are immediately visible. You might even go about your day being happy that what other people see of you from the outside looks nice and shiny. Clean. But lurking on the inside could still be some ugly things such as greed, pridefulness, dishonesty, or cruelty toward the poor.

Repentance happens on the inside and isn’t seen right away. John used baptism here as a symbolic action of forgiveness and repentance. When we are truly repentant, our lives will be forever changed. Our new and different behavior will be evidence to others of how God’s love has changed our lives.

Daily Challenge:

  1. Have you repented of sin in your life?
  2. Can others see the difference it makes in you?
Today's reflection is written by:
Kourtney Aller

Director of Servant Kids
Church of the Servant
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