Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect another?’” Luke 7. 20
In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Luke, an imprisoned John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus who ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect another?” And I wonder if that is exactly the kind of question that we often ask as we come to Christmas. We listen to stories of angel appearances telling of the birth of a child. We hear stories about shepherds on a hillside hearing a host of angelic voices singing. Stories are read about magi who come from far away to bring gifts to an infant child. The stories are full of awe and mystery and a far cry from our hectic lives filled with working, shopping, partying, cooking, and planning. Truth be told, we often find ourselves oppressed by lives that are too full of stuff and things, too busy with this and that to worry with such mystery.
Still, I’ll wager that as we prepare for Christmas the question at the deepest level of our heart is, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect another? Jesus, are you the one?” The people of Jesus’ day were oppressed as well, but they were intently focused on the coming of the Messiah, the one who would free them from their oppressors and restore Israel. So, John the Baptist, who knew he was the forerunner of the Messiah, asks his most important question in order to clarify for himself if Jesus was indeed the Messiah for whom they were waiting.
The response Jesus gave was, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” In other words, Jesus was telling John that indeed a Messiah had come, but that this Messiah would not be a warrior king, but would be one who would care for the least, the last, the lost, and the lonely.
And you know, every time you care for those who are the least, last, lost and lonely in our world today, and every time you practice peace and every time you offer hope, and every time you choose love you are participating in the birth of Jesus Christ again. Every time you proclaim the “Good News” that love is greater than hate, hope is greater than fear and life is greater than death, your question is answered: Christ, the light of the world has come!
Loving God, as we draw near to Christmas, prepare my heart to make room for the birth of Christ, yet again, into my heart, my life and our world. Amen.
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