Reading: Matthew 11:2-11
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.
This is a season of expectations as we anticipate what both Advent and Christmas will be like. Often that it will be a joyful time, filled with family and friends, delicious treats and celebrations, and maybe even some holiday giving to fulfill our call to help our neighbors in need. But often things are not how we think they should be. That is exactly what John the Baptist is experiencing in our story today. John had preached that the Messiah was coming, that he would topple the current kings, and those who were not worthy would be quenched with fire. But now, the stories of what Jesus was really up to were flowing in, he was healing those that society deemed unworthy, granting honor and pardon to the sinners, and even raising the dead to life. This is not at all what John was expecting of a Messiah. Advent and Christmas are about the coming of the Messiah, and if we are to accept him without stumbling, we must accept him for who he is and not what we expect him to be. Yes, Jesus loves, forgives, and walks with us. But he also calls us to be his disciples, to be his feet and hands in this world. To walk alongside those society deems unworthy, not just in this feel-good season, but all the days we are given. If we expect to receive the good from Jesus, we must also accept the call to live responsibly in the midst of suffering and evil.
Gracious God, we give you thanks for sending your Son into this world for us. Keep our expectations in check throughout all the seasons. Lead our lives of faith that we may always follow the true Messiah, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.