Sunday, December 4, 2016

Year A, Advent 3, Matthew 11:2-11, No Other Messiah

Were Jesus to come again, would we recognize him?

He began his ministry and offered these words in Nazareth:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
(Luke 4:18 &19)

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.

But the Romans were not being defeated.  Expectations of the Messiah were not being met.  With all due respect Jesus, this is not what we were waiting for.  

Biblical scholars talk about the difference between the actual historical Jesus, and the Jesus of faith, the Jesus who we hear about in the scripture.  To what extent is the picture of Jesus that we get from the Gospels, reflect an effort of the evangelists to present Jesus in a way that fulfilled their hopes for a Messiah?  Have we ever been able to embrace the Messiah for who he actually was, instead of who we wanted him to be?

Were Jesus to come again, where would we find him?  Would we have a clue about where to look for him?

Would we look for him among the homeless, those who also have no place to lay their head?

Would we look for him on the reservation?

Would we see him in the public health clinics across the country?

Might he be found at the bedside of one suffering from AIDS?

Dare we say that he would more likely be found holding the hand of a prostitute, than enjoying the company of a good church potluck?

Of all the things we might say, or of all the places where we might find him, we might expect that it will be among those most in need of saving that he will be.  

But will we look for him there?

And if we did see him, would we recognize him as the Messiah, or would we resolve to wait for another?

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