Something new in the air - December 9th, 2018
I have noticed that when people are ill or under the weather it’s not just one part of them that’s not working as it should. If there is a pain in your leg it’s quite possible that a number of other parts in your body have come out in sympathy. And then it has other consequences; it affects your outlook, your mood and demeanour.
When someone is struggling with a particular issue what often emerges is that it’s not simply come in isolation. There are a few things that are in the air and this is simply the latest. Granny is poorly, the car has been pranged, your hospital appointment has been cancelled and your house keys have gone missing. And you wonder what will happen next.
I was reading about John the Baptist today in Luke’s Gospel. It begins rather unexpectedly with an overview of the political situation. The Emperor is Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate is governing Judaea. This is not good. Herod is ruling the roost in Judaea and his brother Philip is in power not far away. This is getting worse. Tell me the Temple is in good hands. No, we have got Annas and Caiaphas as high priests. Things could not get any worse. One of these is bad enough, but to have all six around at the same time is diabolical!
But then a breath of fresh air blows in. An uncompromising and remarkable figure starts speaking out in ways that remind people of the great prophets of the past. He tells them that things will change. It might seem highly unlikely. The political situation could not be worse - sounds familiar? - but you will see God at work. This of course was John the Baptist. And what he said got right under people’s skin. Some of them may even have forgotten about the pain in their leg and found a new energy.
Something new was in the air.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
Lord, I am glad you came into the picture when there was a lull! You got involved when things could not have been any worse for ordinary people. Being as that was the case could I just mention to you…Amen.