December 19, 2021

“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we wait for another?”

Pastor KJ Kim

Matthew 11: 2-6

On this Christmas Sunday, the question from today’s reading appears to challenge us, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

This question came from John the Baptist while he was in prison through one of his own disciples. I am not sure what happened to John for him to suddenly doubt Jesus’s identity; however, one thing for sure was that things were not going well for John.

Although the messiah was supposed to change things, nothing was happening the way John had hoped. Over and over again, John handed Jesus the ax, urging him to strike at the rotten wood of the world. Over and over again, Jesus declined, pointing out the new growth from a tree stump that John could not or would not see.

Who is innocent of doubt, especially over the last couple of years? Who can be free from John’s question - “O Lord, are you the one, or are we to wait for another?”

When one of John’s disciples questioned Jesus, Jesus could have announced who he really was, but he didn’t. Instead, Jesus turned John’s disciples around so that they were not looking at Jesus but at some of the people who followed Jesus around. In addition, Jesus’s answer was delivered completely in the passive voice, without a single claim, no “I” statements, for the speaker.

Rather, what Jesus said was, “Go tell him what you hear and see. Things may not be working out the way John wanted them to, but every now and then, in surprising places, marvelous things are happening.”

In this season of Advent, how would we answer that question when people ask us how we know that the good news of Advent is real and true? How about this?

Hey friends, come and see, then, go and tell people what you hear and see from us--The spiritual blind receive the sight so that we are able to recognize those who are the neglected and the overlooked; For those who are in hopeless situations, like the lepers, the lame, and the deaf, we strive to instill God’s hope by reaching out, and holding their hands, and walking side by side with them; When the world and our lives seem falling apart, when people may be cynical and doubtful about today’s Godly miracle, we may become a sign of a miracle by being very still and quiet, and even by singing a song ahead of time even though we do not know about tomorrow.

By doing so, although we may be a small and tiny congregation like a few leaves on a tree in late winter, we are able to point out the new growth, a new beginning, and a new life from that tree
just like Jesus was born on a cold night in a smelly barn in a messy world.

“Come and see, and go and tell people what we hear and see from God’s people near and far,
so that people know that the Christ is born and is so real and so true.”

Thanks be to God.