Advent 3 – Matthew 11:2-10

The phrase “He comes” resonates in the promises of God all the way back to the Garden of Eden, where the promise of a Savior first sounded. From that moment on, all prophets proclaimed “He comes.” Moses proclaims, The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen. David sang about the Savior, You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and all the prophets affirmed with one voice, “He comes.” Jesus Christ is the promised Savior Who comes to us to save us.

We see this from the miracles He performed. The question of John’s disciples to Jesus was an Advent question: Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another? The Advent of the Son of God is near. Has John made a mistake? Did he prepare the way for an impostor? How could that be possible? John is the one who leapt in his mother’s womb in the Lord’s presence. He is the one to whom God revealed the person of the Messiah by the appearing of the Holy Spirit at the Jordan. John is the one who pointed his finger at Jesus and said, Behold the Lamb of God! John, whose endurance Christ praises so highly in Matthew chapter 11, mistaken about Christ? Never! The two disciples were sent by John because they thought more of John than Jesus. They are the ones who need convincing. Christ’s answer to their question leaves no room for doubt.

Go and tell John what you see and hear. The fame of Jesus’ miracles had filled the land of Judea. It even penetrated into the tower at Machaerus, where John was imprisoned. The disciples whom John sent were now eyewitnesses and even ear witnesses of it. Saint Luke tells us when these disciples of John appeared, In that hour Jesus healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. It’s as if Jesus looks at these disciples of John, performs miracles, and says to them, is that good enough for you? Satisfied now?

Add to this that it was precisely these marvelous works that were already known in the prophets as the certain characteristics of the Messiah. Isaiah prophesied about Messiah’s coming: The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. Every dead person who rose from the dead, every blind person seeing, every leper who was cleansed by the mere word of Christ, gave testimony in their healing: See, hear, Jesus is the One Who should come, and no other! Jesus is the promised Savior!

Yet the disciples of John had been angry at Jesus. The harsh forerunner of Messiah appeared to them to shine in greater holiness. That is why the warning is precisely for them: Blessed is the one who is not offended by me. The warning is for you as well when you doubt that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The warning is for you when the world, your sinful flesh, and Satan tempt you to look elsewhere for your salvation. Do not doubt that you have a Savior, the Promised One, Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and don’t wait for another Savior.

We also see Jesus as Savior in the office and vocation of John the Baptist. He was a prophet. Elijah was a great prophet, yet the preaching and miracles of Elijah were nothing compared to the last and greatest of all prophets. John was the other Elijah promised by Malachi. In order that you might not think of John in contempt compared to Christ, Jesus has words of praise for His forerunner. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. People did not go into the wilderness in order to see a reed shaken by the wind or a soft servant of a king’s court. They admired the severity, the crushing seriousness, the incorruptibility, the resistance, the power and the force of John, in whom was the Holy Spirit.

John also is the forerunner of the Messiah. This is what Jesus means when He calls John more than a prophet. John reports the arrival of Christ. He draws attention with a loud voice of a herald to the Savior, the coming One. He prepares the way for Him in the hearts of the people of Israel as His messenger. Jesus relies on John in order that you believe Jesus is the One Who should come. You don’t need to wait for another Savior.

When the morning star shines, then the sun is near. When the morning star turns pale (in this case John in prison), then the sun is in full glory and bright radiance in the sky. John’s Savior, his disciples’ Savior, your Savior has come. Jesus has come to pay the price of your sin. He drinks the cup of woe to the dregs, not shrinking or shirking from His duty. Jesus comes today in the preaching of His Word and in His holy Supper for the forgiveness of your sins. Once He came humbly. Even now His coming among us is humble. His coming again, His final Advent, will be triumphant. All will see His glory. Not all will rejoice in His glory. All will see the Savior. Not all will want to see Him. They wish they could wait for another. There is no other.

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come/ Let earth receive her King.” These words are more than a Christmas hymn. These words are truth because what you sing about in this hymn will happen. The season of Advent is a season of new, yet old, blessings. It brings us new, yet old, grace; new, yet old, blessings; and new certainty of our faith in Jesus Christ. Joy, new joy, yet old joy, is yours because Jesus comes as your Savior King.

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