Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2016
December 11, 2016
6th Sunday of Advent
Gospel Text: Matthew 11:2-11
Messengers from John the Baptist
2 When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ 4 Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
Jesus Praises John the Baptist
7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.”
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
I think we need to print more of our Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church T-shirts. It is good to get our name out in the community with your wonderful faces on top! When you wear your shirts do people ever ask about your church? If someone asks, “What is Calvary by the Sea like?” How would you answer? The best answer is very simple, “Come and See.”
In today’s text, many things have occurred since the day John the Baptist baptized Jesus until the day John found himself in jail out of the fear of King Herod. It seems that even John the Baptist began to wonder if Jesus was, “The One?” “The Chosen” “The Messiah” that John had been proclaiming. Or, should he be waiting for another, which would be a disaster for John because it would have meant that his entire life would have been a fraud, a cruel trick played from God. His wandering in the desert, wearing skins and eating locusts and honey, all would have just proved to himself and all those who wondered that he truly was just another crazy religious freak that wandered into town with big words from the desert after spending too much time under the sun.
Maybe after all these years, even John was wondering what kind of King this Jesus of Nazareth was, this Jesus whom he baptized in the river Jordan not so long ago… Israel hadn’t had a king since Assyria carried them off in chains in 721 BCE, and Judah hadn’t had a real king since 597 BCE when the Babylonians in took them into exile. Therefore, when the people cried out for a king, it’s not like they really knew what it meant to live under a ‘King of Israel’s’ reign. All they really wanted was a king powerful enough like King David of long ago to remove the Romans from their land. But again, the kind of king the people wanted and the kind of king we need according to God’s Will, were two very different things.
So John sent his disciples to check Jesus out, and Jesus’ answer tells us exactly what kind of king we have in Jesus, and what kind of king we need. John’s disciples approach Jesus with some suspicion and ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ 4 Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
Meaning we do not need a king with a sword, or gold, but one who can heal, forgive and proclaim mercy. With each miracle, we recall the story or stories about Jesus’ miracles.
Do you want to understand God’s heart? Look, see, read and rejoice in what we learn what Jesus has already done. Can you see the pattern?
And then Jesus adds another proclamation, “And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.”
The church is the Body of Christ. For us, this means, blessed are all those who look at the church, and sees, “me.” Blessed are those who take no offence at a faith community which values: forgiveness, mercy, justice, love, service, the arts and especially faith.
It is here, in the presence of God that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. It is here that we confess our sins, hear that we are forgiven, our mission is inspired and focused by the Gospel, our community is strengthen when we eat at the table, and we then sent out, to do what Jesus did, proclaim, forgive, serve, give sight, comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable, and make the light of God known in this world through the gift of faith and joy born out of gratitude.
So, if people want to know something about your church, they need to “Come and See.” Invite them to the blessing we call worship. Amen.
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