3rd Sunday of Advent – Sunday 11th December 2016 – Matthew 11:2-11
After my 3 month sabbatical all went well in my preaching last week. I hadn’t forgotten how!
I’m going with the advent wreath theme we use so this week – how is John the Baptist portrayed as a forerunner of Jesus? This is interesting this year because John being in prison can’t see for himself.
- I’m wondering if John has lost hope. He’s hearing rumours but he will be hearing two sides: those who have gained: their faculties, their lives, their loss of hope, restored and those who are ‘anti’ Jesus – he’s not fulfilling the role expected as a Messiah.
- If John has become unsure: remember in the womb he recognised Jesus, he baptised Jesus and then heard the voice from heaven ‘This is my son, my beloved son with whom I am well pleased’, so how can hope in Jesus be restored.
- If the prophets gave the people hope, Jesus has reversed roles and is now giving hope to John the Baptist. He is helping him see but using the format from Isaiah 35 and 61 – verses John will be familiar with.
- All John’s disciples are asked to do is tell him what they have heard and seen. Like us as Jesus’ disciples
December can be good times: discos, delights dinners, but also debt, darkness and divorce.
We have to be symbols of hope.
It’s worth reminding the congregations about the four present rule: something to play with, something to wear, something to eat and something to read. This has value because it stops the guilt and the over present buying especially when money is tight.
We have to be symbols of hope for those on their own.
If you live a long way from some members of your family, it’s easy to think we’ll leave it this year.