Reflections: The Third Sunday in Advent

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:2-11

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 29:1-14; Jude 1-25

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.”  (Matthew 11:2-6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why did John send his disciples to Jesus? Some say he did what any great teacher would do, he sent his students to find the truth. He sent them to be catechized by Jesus. Others say that John was struggling himself. He had been in jail for a year. He was almost certain his life would end there in prison. He had questions, questions for Jesus. 

A lot of ink has been spilled trying to answer the question of why John sent his disciples. The answer is probably a combination of both. The important thing is not why John did what he did, but what did Jesus do in response? 

Jesus directed John’s disciples, and John and us to look at the evidence. “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.” Jesus did not direct them to look into their hearts, or at their own emotions. He directed them to see Jesus’ authority over disease, dysfunction, doubt, and death. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we vacillate, daily, between a sure and certain hope in Jesus’ atoning death on the Cross and saying, “Are you the one to come, or shall we look for another?” 

Daily we find our hope in what Jesus has done. Our blind eyes read His “Good News” and see His Cross and empty grave. That gives us His peace. Daily our old deaf Adam is drowned when we make the sign of the cross. Through our Baptism our ears are opened by His Spirit to hear His life-giving words of forgiveness for all our sins, including sins of doubt, worry, and fear. Daily our future death would try to rob us of our sure and certain hope. Jesus was in the grave first. It could not hold Him. It cannot hold you.  

 Your hope is not in “why.” It is in what Jesus has done for you! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent)

Rev. Randy Sturzenbecher is pastor of Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Black Hawk, SD. He is also the vice president of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch