Upon learning that Jesus was speaking to large crowds of people, with some becoming convinced he was the promised Messiah, the Pharisees ordered the temple guards to arrest him. They were certain an out-of-work carpenter from Galilee must be a charlatan. But the henchmen returned empty-handed with the report given in John 7:46. What was it they heard? Was it His message? His delivery? His voice?
It may have been some of all of these, for we have examples from Scripture in which each of these elements is prominent. In the Sermon on the Mount, it’s His words that are astonishing (“Love your enemies”). When He raised Lazarus, He spoke in such a loud voice that even the dead heard Him. And at the tomb, it was the tone of His voice that convinced Mary He wasn’t the gardener.
During Advent, like guards from the temple of our culture, we too can be changed. Though our society may clamor to silence Him, He still speaks. The heart hears what the ear may not: His message of hope and love, of forgiveness and redemption, of peace and blessing. In the dark night of our existence, when despair would threaten to overwhelm, we need to hear a word of assurance. Advent speaks that word we need: God is still with us.
LET US PRAY
Change us too, dear Lord. In this season may we hear You speak again assurance to our hungry hearts. Amen.
Carey Herring has been a member of First Baptist Church for almost 50 years. Carey retired in 2011 from Carson-Newman University after teaching 44 years for the Mathematics Department. He is married to Shirley Herring.
"A man with my embarrassment of riches has no need of Christmas gifts. I have a loving family, good health, faithful friends, and a four-decade career spent on the Carson-Newman faculty. And I did nothing to deserve any of it. During this season of Advent, I am most looking forward to spending priceless time with family and friends."