Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Beginning of the End

• Twentyfirst Sunday in Ordinary Time
on Matthew 11:1-15, 
in which John the Baptist wonders about Jesus the Christ, 
and Jesus commends and edifies JtB.  @FirstUMCBville  @kerrfunk

• John the Baptist sends two disciples to ask whether the Christ is the One.

Two ways of looking at JtB's question... does he doubt, or not doubt?
Traditional: doubt. JtB imprisioned, Jesus not meeting his messianic expectations...
Possible: JtB confesses Christ, and is strengthening witness of disciples.

Regardless, Jesus points to several messianic passages (Isa 35 and 61) and says, “What do YOU think?”

And then Jesus commends and edifies JtB.
JtB is nothing to sneeze at. JtB is the real deal.
JtB is the predecessor of God's chosen one. Look at the prophets' writings.

It's reassuring. To JtB, to JtB's disciples, to the crowds, to the original hearers, to US.
...that Jesus is the one told about in Isaiah...
...that the time is NOW (every now)...
...that God is redeeming...

Jesus assures b/c ppl need assurance.
It's why we say “I love you” more than once.

Jesus assures b/c we tend to see what we want to see... 
we find an explanation or expectation we're comfortable with 
and we stick with that.
Yet Jesus did not fit the popular expectations, 
and tends not to remain in boxes...

Jesus assures b/c we constantly hear otherwise.
Assurance threatened by racism oppression violence
by ISIS, terrorism, abuse, poverty
by drug crime, depression

Recall the promises of God and the actions of Jesus (healer, savior, chosen) who strengthens us 
-- to pick up cross
-- to remain faithful (verse 6)
(may Jesus' negligence to meet our expectations not cause us to stumble)
-- and to bear witness

Live in expectation that the end is near,
and not in confidence that you always have another day.

Hymn 421 Make Me a Captive, Lord 
(btw in verse 2: “wind” rhymes with “find”)

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