Friday, December 17, 2010

A YouTube Advent Calendar: December 17

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the 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. And 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? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' Truly 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. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!"

-    Matthew 11:2-15

Look, says Jesus. You have in your minds the way things are supposed to happen, according to your interpretation of the prophets. But hanging everything you believe on the way things were “supposed” to happen is pretty hazardous business. Is John’s name Elijah? No, but feel free to call him that if you need someone to fill that role.

Your life is the same way. You can look around and say, “Is this really my life?” Rest assured that it is, and that everything in it is redeemable and redeemed by God. There is no place too impure for God to tread. All good things will come.

Are you restless in your expectation? I know I am. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” But that’s because the King who was coming is still coming, and this is a great mystery.

Here’s a sermon I preached on the fourth Sunday of Advent three years ago: “Is This Really My Life?”

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