Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 85:8-13; Luke 5:17-26
Today’s reading from Luke is one which is designed to give a glimpse of the divine nature of Jesus. This is evidenced from the response of the crowd at the end of the section. They are glorifying God and remarking on the “strange” things that they have seen. This is typically the best response that the crowds give during the course of Jesus’s ministry. They are aware that God is at work, but they are unable to put their finger on just what it is.
The crowds rejoice and welcome the healings and the teachings that seem to move them away from a place where religion is simply a too of control. This is exciting, but we will soon find out as we progress through the gospels that there is more to what Jesus is doing then we observe in the miraculous, and as the gospels progress, we become aware that what the crowd is unable to grasp is that the work that God is doing is one that involves denying oneself. Ultimately this self denial leads all the way to the cross.
Perhaps though, grasp isn’t the right word. The problem for the crowd, and the one that we face as well, is not that we need to grasp this lifestyle, but that we need to embrace it. We can understand this choice, and we can often even go so far as to give mental assent to it. What Advent challenges us to do, is to go beyond either of those and to start or re-start living that kind of life.