11 December 2016
3rd Sunday of Advent ● Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10 ● Psalm 146 ● James 5:7-10 ● Matthew 11:2-11 ●
Start: [16:10] Finish: [20:51]
[__01] I recall observing, as a very young person, how elevators were requested or called. One would press the button.
Yet, without any knowledge of how elevators – or lifts – in office building work … or how these elevators (lifts) work in any building of many floors, I remember my impatience, my confusion.
However, when the elevator arrived, we did not necessarily enter or board that elevator. Then, we wait for another elevator.
In the words of the Gospel today, “is the one to come, or should we look for another?”
This is the question of John the Baptist, “are you the one to come or should we look for another?” (Matthew ___)
John the Baptist is asking this question about the identity of Jesus as the Messiah. Is Jesus the one to come ?
[__02] John the Baptist is also waiting. He is waiting in prison, now immobile, immobilized.
Of course, John the Baptist has also accepted this punishment willingly, this prison sentence. He has been arrested and sent to prison not for a crime but for his denunciation and criticism of the governor and king, Herod of Judea.
At this time of imprisonment, John sends his own disciples as messengers to Jesus to ask: “are you the Messiah? Are you the one who is to come or should I look for another?”
John the Baptist is saying, “I hope you are the one, that I have the right person, because I am in big trouble now. I hope I was right about this. I have defended you, I have leveled the mountains, filled in the valleys, built a highway, and now I have been sentenced to death. ”
Thus, John asks, “Jesus, are you the one to come or should we look for another?”
[__03] Jesus’s approach surprised John the Baptist and differed from John the Baptist. Jesus acted differently than John had expected.
After all, if Jesus were really a powerful Messiah, why would one of his main supporters – his only living prophet – be in prison?
This reality of persecution and struggle will also trouble other disciples.
Does not Peter try to stop the arrest of Jesus?
Do not James and John fail to understand that their greatness will come about after they learn to be least and last?
[__04] John spoke about action, the infrastructure of the Kingdom of God, the leveling of the mountains, filling in the valleys, building a highway.
Jesus seems to move at a slower pace.
Thus, John asks, “are you the one to come or should I look for another?”
Should I get on a different elevator? Should I take a different path?
[__05] Jesus is sometimes not the Messiah, does not have the message which we expect.
What do we value in life?
What do we expect our Savior to deliver or deliver us from ?
[__06] For example … PEACE, TRANQUILITY. How do we gain peace and tranquility. Sometimes, it is not gained by our silence. If we want peace and tranquility with our family, our spouse, children, parents, we do not gain peace and tranquility only by withdrawal.
As we read in Ecclesiastes, there is a time to speak.
And, John the Baptist himself experienced this. He spoke up. He spoke his “peace”. This speech got him in trouble, but it was an act of peace and justice.
… OR …
We may want or desire FORGIVENESS.
We may wish to forgive another person. How do we forgive? Is it by taking pity on the other person and recognizing the other person’s errors and weaknesses, compared to our own? In fact, the better path to forgiveness is to recognize our own sinfulness.
You and I are called to forgive not from a position of power but of humility, knowing we also have been forgiven.
Yes, he is the one to come.