Advent 3

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Matthew 11:2–10
[2] Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples
John in Prison...
[3] and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
The ministry of Jesus confounds even those who had the greatest “in.” John has reasons for questions: He is merely being obedient in declaring the coming Messiah.
[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.
Three things from the OT law…The blind, leperous, deaf, where not welcome into the religious fellowship. At the same time the community was obligated to take care of them
Dead bodies where to be completely avoided as death was anti God who is the source of all life.
The poor were vulnerable and taken advantage of by sinful people and had the people done the things of the Law of Moses the book said there would be no more poor.
So all these categories are dealt with in Isaiah. Isaiah predicts a messiah that will do the things for these groups that Jesus describes. The good news of the prophet Isaiah is coming to pass and Jesus is he!
[6] And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Then Jesus offers this mild rebuke…blessed is he...
[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.
That is a person with no back bone withholding the truth to be popular…A Dandy who hangs in the upper classes and eats from the best tables? NOPE
[9] What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Through out his ministry Jesus references the poor treatment of the prophets
But more importantly The prophets had been silent for 400 years. And here comes John in the tradition of the OT prophets doing what prophets do. John is more than a prophet, he is the prophet who is bridging the end of the OT to the NT
[10] This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ (ESV)
Just as Advent is a time of preparation, John is he who prepares Israel for the arrival of Christ.
So what applications should we take
We need to prepare knowing it could go badly…We have to reject the prosperity Gospel in any of its forms. Being a good Christian does nor garuntee the white picket fence in the burbs with the perfect family and a great job. It means following Jesus into death. And only then do we find ressurection.
Our ministry must come into contact and care for marginalized people, and along with seeing the literal fulfillment of that we should see the figurative fulfillment of the messianic promise.
Three things from the OT law…The blind, leperous, deaf, where not welcome into the religious fellowship. At the same time the community was obligated to take care of them
Following Jesus will mean standing strong, not as reads in the wind but as oaks of righteousness. Viewing the use of money different, of sex , of authority, of service.
In a way we are participating in the ministry of John the Baptist. The church is a prophetic voice declaring the coming of the king and it will come at a cost. Our time is not ours but its God’s to direct and we use time to care for others and follow God’s will. Our Talent does not prop up our own kingdoms but his. Our treasure our not for our earthly comfort but for building God’s kingdom. The church service is build to reflect these things. Liturgy means the work of the people so we come bringing the gifts of our talents to worship God. The Liturgy takes time, and so we patiently walk through its many portions as an offering of thanksgiving. We have an offering as one place where we part with our treasure for God’s glory.
Remember that John pointed to the righteous one and he was killed for it. Jesus came as the righteous one and was also killed. The Gospel is the way of death. And when we fail this perfect standard remember that on the cross Jesus perfectly fulfills the calling of God for each of us, and suffers death for our sins. And he has sent us his Holy Spirit to guide us in living a new life Gospel centered righteousness.
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