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The Third Sunday in Advent, December 17, 2023

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The Third Sunday in Advent, December 17, 2023

John needed to know.  He needed to know if this Jesus was truly the Messiah.  John, in prison and unsure if he’ll ever get out alive, needs to know whether Jesus was the one to come or not.  As an answer, Jesus points to the fulfillment of prophecy.  Jesus does not acknowledge the title attributed to him by John.  Instead, Jesus directs those emissaries from John to the Scriptures themselves.  At many places in the book of Isaiah, there are prophecies concerning the coming of the Lord… the coming of the “One.”  Isaiah is much concerned about the delivery of Jerusalem’s people both into and out of the hands of the Babylonians.  Throughout the book of Isaiah, the prophet anticipates their delivery and the blessings made present by that delivery (cf. Isa 35:5-6; 26:19; 29:18-19; 61:1).  John needed to know, and Jesus provided him with an answer straight out of scripture.

You need to know.  You need to know if this Jesus is truly the Messiah.  You are in the prison of your flesh, and you know that you’ll never get out alive.  Is Jesus the one who has come to set the captives free… to release you from your bondage to sin, death, and the power of the devil?  Jesus gives you an answer.  It is the answer which the poor received.  Like them, you have good news preached to you.  Your poverty is filled with the abundance of faith as the Holy Spirit goes to work through your hearing of that good news.  In the riches of faith, your blindness receives sight… In the riches of faith, you walk without a limp… In the riches of faith, your dread diseases are healed, your deafness cured, and your dead (including you) are raised.  To those without faith, receiving good news is a poor substitute for the experience of sight, walking, hearing, health, and the raising of the dead.  Without faith, there is only offense… offense at the one who has come to preach good news to the poor… offense at the one who delivers the riches of faith (cf. vs. 6).  Blessings indeed come with the riches of faith.  Jesus has promised such.  Without faith, there is only offense.

Table Talk: Discuss why some things are reserved for faith and not sight. 
Pray:  Father in heaven, keep me in the riches of faith until it becomes sight.  Amen

Matthew 11:2-10 (11)

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another? 4 And Jesus answered them, Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,

Behold, I send my messenger before your face,

who will prepare your way before you.

(11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.)

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