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"Come and See" "Come and See"

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"Come and See"

Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

Matthew 11:2-11

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.

  1. Jesus says, “The blind receive their sight,” remember Jesus healing the man as he approached Jericho. 
    1. Luke 18 Jesus heals the blind man: 35 As he approached Jericho; a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.  The blind man shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’  40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; ‘What do you want me to do for you?’  He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’  42 Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’  43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
  2. Jesus said, “The lame walk,” remember the time paralyzed man was brought to Jesus by his friends.
    1. Matthew 9:2-7 Jesus heals the paralyzed Man: And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’  …  6 so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ — he then said to the paralytic — ‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’  7 And he stood up and went to his home.
  3. Jesus says, “the lepers are cleansed,” what about that wonderful story in Matthew? 
    1. Matthew 8:1-4 Jesus Cleanses a Leper: When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2 and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’  3 He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I do choose.  Be made clean!’  Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.‘
      1. I love this particular text because through Jesus, God proclaims to us, “I choose” to make YOU clean!
  4. Jesus says, “the dead are raised,” remember Lazarus and the son of the widow?
    1.  John 11: 38-53 The Raising of Lazarus: And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me.  42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’  43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’  44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth.  Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’
  5. The good news that God’s heart is always first with the poor.  
    1. Luke 6:20 Blessed are the poor: Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
    2. Luke 21:1-4 The Widow’s Offering: He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  3 He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’

 

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?  

  1. ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.
  2. So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ — he then said to the paralytic — ‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’  7 And he stood up and went to his home.
  3. He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I do choose.  Be made clean!’  Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
  4. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me.  ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’  To be bound means to be “wrapped” by the power of sin, and therefore bound to the consequences of sin, which is death.
  5. ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

 

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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