Friday of Advent 3 – Matthew 11:2-15

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way before you.’

11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

My host was obviously proud of what he was showing me. I was in India at the time, leading workshops for pastors and other leaders of the Indian Evangelical Lutheran Church. His English was good enough, we did not need an interpreter. My ability to speak Tamil does not exist. He was showing me a school, a school which served disabled children. There were classrooms, a place to play, and a place to eat. It was all clean, perhaps one of the best facilities I had seen on my whole trip. It was clear he loved his work and he loved these children.

John sends his disciples to ask if Jesus is the One or should they wait for another. I think John knew the answer to that question, but he wanted his disciples to know it too. Jesus’ answer is what interests me. He points them to the work He is doing: Jesus is healing, encouraging, raising the dead, and more. That is the answer to their question. Is Jesus the One? Look at what he does.

That is still the answer to that question. Jesus has not left this planet when He ascended. His presence simply changed. Now He is in you and me. I think of that man in southern India who cares for children whom his society otherwise neglected. I saw Jesus in that man’s care for those disabled children. But I do not need to go that far to see Jesus and you don’t either. Look to the soup kitchen, the hospital, the nursing home, or the Christian school. Better yet, I hope you can look to your own hands and your own service to see this Jesus still at work. He is still the One, the One who opens eyes and ears in clinics, who forgives sinners, and offers a grocery bag of food and a smile to hungry people in your neighborhood. Yes, Jesus is still the One.

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