I hadn’t intended to do so, but I’ve learned a little about reeds today. Did you know that a reed is basically a tall grass with a hollow stem? It’s very similar to bamboo, which is technically a grass, not a tree. So for all of you homeowners who have recently installed bamboo hardwood floors ……….. well I hate to tell you, but you just put grass on your floor, not wood.
Reeds have been used in construction for centuries. Walls are sometimes made of woven reeds that are then covered in mud. Thatched roofs are made from bundles of reeds.
Papyrus is a type of reed from which the Egyptians made paper.
The giant reed, arundo donax, is used to make musical instruments, for example pan pipes and reeds for the mouthpiece for woodwind instruments like saxophones and clarinets.
After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
When the wind blows through high reeds, it makes a rustling, whistling sound. The sound is random; is has no tune or cadence. It isn’t an unpleasant sound, but it has no definition.
John The Baptist lived among the reeds; he baptized in the waters of the Jordan River.
Jesus asked the crowd a question about his cousin, John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see, a reed swayed by the wind?” It was a rhetorical question, but he wanted to make them think. John’s message was not like the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds, random and irregular. His message had definition and purpose.
The Greek word translated see in the NIV is theáomai (from tháomai, “to gaze at a spectacle”) – properly, gaze on (contemplate) as a spectator; to observe intently, especially to interpret something (grasp its significance); to see (concentrate on) so as to significantly impact (influence) the viewer. It is also the root of théatron (“spectacle in a theatre”), where we derive the English term, “theatre.” Strong’s Greek – biblehub.com
Jesus’ point was that there was something significant, something spectacular, something theatrical about John. It wasn’t his clothes or his hair or his face. Even his message on the surface wasn’t that appealing; it was primarily warnings about coming wrath and punishment. Yet, there was something special that was hidden in his message that was compelling, something more than just the rustling of the wind, something that attracted crowds from all around.
Promise. It was the promise of a better tomorrow, a better life, a dream that burned in the hearts of every Hebrew man and woman.
Luke 3:15 (NIV)
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.
The appearance of John brought to existence the possibility of a dream that the Hebrews had been talking about since the days of Isaiah, the coming of the Messiah, the Deliverer. “Could this be the man who would change our world? Could he be the one who would finally set us free?”
John knew what they were saying about him. But he was very clear, “I’m not the man you’ve been waiting for. That man will baptize you with fire. That man is more powerful than I.”
John was the herald who announced Jesus’ ministry. He was the one chosen to usher in the most explosive, life changing, dramatic era in the history of mankind.
As we begin to focus on the season of Advent, let’s remember that the promise of a better tomorrow still exists. The changes that began with John’s words still impact the world today.
So I lift the mug – Here is to new beginnings, ones full of hope and promise.
All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com