2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the 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. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” 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? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11Truly 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. (Matthew 11: 2-11)
So, are you the one? Because, see, we’re putting a lot into this. We need to be sure. We do not want to be surprised again. So, just tell us, “are you the one or do we need to keep looking?” We’re like that. We want to be certain. We don’t want to waste our time or our emotions. We want to get the show on the road but we want to make sure that the road we’re on is the way home.
John was, of course, the forerunner, the one who was to point to the One who was pointing to God. So, John had gotten on board quick, preaching his message of immediate repentance with all the evangelistic fervor of one of those early morning television preachers. But then when Jesus finally comes on the scene, he starts healing and freeing and forgiving and welcoming and doing all sorts of things that were not going to move this along any faster. Jesus was not what John had envisioned and certainly not what we wanted to see. So, he just bluntly asks, “Are you really the one?” In other words, are you sure you have the personality for this job? Maybe we need to put some feelers out. Maybe, well, you know, maybe we need someone that is a little more direct, someone who looks like what people want to see.
So, are we any different? We all probably have a certain image of what Jesus should be. We have an image of the way we should act, the way we should dress, the way we should worship to give God the glory in the way that we have figured out God wants to be glorified. And we have shut out the ways and those that do not fit that mold. Advent is a season that teaches us a different way of seeing. Advent shakes loose the cobwebs that have begun to grow around our hardened and finished ideas of who God is and who God wants us to be. Advent opens us to the possibility that God will come anew into places that we thought we had already figured out. Advent prepares us not to know the old, old story again but rather read its rewritten version that God is already writing on our hearts. Advent tears down the fences and the walls and the borders that we have built and calls us to a faraway place where we will find God.
So, should we wait for another? Well, I supposed you could. Or you could just open your eyes and your hearts to the One that has come and that will come again given the chance.
Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here. (John Wesley)
FOR TODAY: About what are you so certain that you have quit searching?
Grace and Peace,