Our scripture this week is Matthew 11:2-11.
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what 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: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
John and the people of his time had an expectation of what the coming of the Messiah would be like. Many expected that He would restore the kingdom of Israel, overthrow the Roman occupiers and punish the enemies who had oppressed them. This had been their hope for many years.
When Jesus appeared, He taught them to love – both their neighbor and their enemy. This must have been difficult for them to accept and it was certainly not what they expected. It is hard for us to realize that what we want is often not what God wants for us.
In this time of preparation we must make ourselves ready for the celebration of the Messiah’s birth, to welcome Jesus as the expected One and to learn what that means in our lives and in our world. God has a plan for every single one of us that involves making Him the center of our lives. This is how we can be made whole and made useful to the coming of the kingdom.
Loving Lord, we are not sure of what is to come, but we know we can trust that You have blessings for us. While we face difficulties every day in this life, You are waiting for us to give them up to You, to follow Your path for us and to be part of Your work in all of creation. Amen.