Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete Sunday

St. Matthew 11:2-10

A reed shaken with the wind?  Someone like you? who tells you what it’s in style to hear, and is swayed like a reed by your opinions?   John is not.

In soft clothing?  Someone who tells you sweet things, soft things, that make you feel good about yourself?  John does not.

A prophet?  Pointing to future events?  Yes, but more: he points to the present, the fulfillment of the future: Jesus.

People were not expecting a prophet like John.  He was mocked by great men (the Pharisees scoffed (in St. John 1), and despised by kings (Herod imprisoned him).  And he did not look like we might have expected a prophet to look.  He drew no attention to himself: “art thou the coming one?”

People were not expecting a prophet like John, though they should have been.  He was last in the long line of prophets: Like the first prophet Moses, found in the reeds, John the last prophet points to Christ: but John is the greatest of them all, the messenger whom the last OT prophet, Malachi, foretells.

And all of the prophets were actually like John: all suffered, were meek, etc. Moses was meek and despised.

Elijah fled for his life; Isaiah was sawn in two; Jeremiah was imprisoned.  And John was imprisoned and finally beheaded.

Meek and despised like Jesus.

Jesus came humbly, according to his own agenda, not ours (no reed shaken); preaching his Gospel, not what we were itching to hear (he wore no soft clothing); and Jesus is greatest of all, for he is God himself, in the flesh, but in deepest humility, he came to die for the sin of the world.

The sermon.

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