Second Wednesday in Advent

Second Wednesday in Advent        JOHN   adult ministry  11

Scripture: Luke 7:18-23

18 The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19 and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”

20 John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”

21 At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. 22 Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” 23 And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”

Some thoughts:

     John the Baptist is a unique character to say the least! For a couple of reasons, he is actually the last Old Testament prophet even though he appears in the New Testament. First, the sins of the people in Old Testament times were not actually atoned for which was why sacrifices were still offered over and over in Jesus’ day. Jesus repeatedly told those he healed to go to the priest and make the proper offering. The sacrifices were but a shadow of what was to come and pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Second, Malachi―the last book in the First Testament― ends its prophecy with these words: “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5-6) 400 years of no prophets with no message from God, and then out of the desert comes this weird (there’s no other way to say it) prophet preaching fire and brimstone. To no one’s surprise, his novelty attracts large and curious crowds, some of whom actually repent and become his disciples.

     The person and preaching of John became quite controversial among the political and Jewish religious leaders which resulted in his imprisonment. Coloring outside the lines had its magnetic attractiveness! Rabbis in those days had their own disciples called talmid (singular) or talmidim (plural).The talmidim left all and dedicated their lives to following a rabbi, absorbing everything they could about his way of life, his way of thinking, becoming as much like their rabbi as possible. One of John’s talmidim was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Some of John’s talmidim told him of the miracles Jesus was doing so John sent Andrew to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah “we’ve been waiting for the last 400 years . . . or should we keep waiting and watching.” Now when you think about it, this could be a little puzzling because John and Jesus were cousins six months apart in age, John being a little older. Had they ever interacted as boys? John was trying to put it all together, hence his question to Jesus.

     There is a principle here bearing comment. John in proclaiming the coming Messiah, the King of the Jews, may have assumed Jesus would at this point be assembling an army to overthrow the occupying Romans. Since Jesus was not doing that, he sent Andrew to find out if Jesus was the Messiah or if someone was coming after him to set up God’s kingdom. John was searching to understand what Jesus was doing.

     We live in a world where we often have ideas as to what God should be doing about various situations we face as Christians, as a society, or as a country. And God doesn’t do what we think should happen. We may wonder if God is doing anything. Did you notice how Jesus answered John’s question? He quoted Scripture reminding John the promises God had made concerning the Messiah. That is why it behooves us to spend time each day in the Scriptures as Jesus’ talmidim seeking the face of God to find his mind and heart. Notice Jesus’ pattern of answering questions was repeatedly to refer people back to the Scriptures. The same holds true for us.

Music:  “What Child Is This?”  Chris Rupp and Home Free 


Lord Jesus, your ways are so different from what we expect. You came as a baby in a manger visited first by shepherds, the lowest class of society. You went into exile as an infant to avoid death. As a twelve-year-old, you taught the most brilliant theological minds of the day. You never had a home of your own. You spent more time with the poor and powerless in society than with the leaders. Your kingdom was not what anyone expected. Sometimes your ways are still peculiar to us. You seem to be out of touch . . . or actually, it is we who are lost in our world and are out of touch with what you are doing. Christ Jesus, grant that our hearts and minds wouldn’t be so stuck in our preconceived ideas about you, that we would spend time with you to trust you more and not run ahead in our own time but rest in yours. Help us to move from ideas about you to a deeper relationship with you. This we pray in your Holy Name. Amen.  ―Daniel Sharp

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