‘I baptise with water;
but there stands among you –
unknown to you –
the one who is coming after me…’
There is a story of a monastery where life had become chaotic. The monks were continually arguing and fighting and charity had vanished. Experts had been consulted and many community-building days had been held in the hope of fixing the problems. But there had been no change. The monastery was in free-fall.
Finally it was a wise visitor to the monastery who, noticing the problems, revealed that he had been told to make a retreat at this particular monastery since this was the place where the Messiah had returned for the second coming.
Word spread in the monastery. At first there was skepticism among the brothers. But soon one and then two then more of the monks began to take the visitor’s advice seriously and to start to think of every monk as Jesus himself. Perhaps this one (they wondered), maybe him? Surely not that difficult brother? Which of our number is Jesus?
The conviction that the Jesus was living among them grew. And already you have guessed the rest of the story. The monastery began to flourish.
Of course no Christian community in 2023 would hire someone like John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Lord. But that’s exactly what God did, choosing a counter-cultural voice with not a politically correct bone in his body, to be the first one to recognise the Messiah in their midst.
Perhaps the person I find most difficult is in fact the Messiah? Try living for the next 24 hours believing that this is the fact, and notice the miraculous change in your life and in all your relationships.
What do you think?
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