The Third Sunday in Advent (C)
“Are You the One?”
December 16, 2018
Sermon Text: Luke 7:18-28
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
“The only thing constant is change.” So, the old adage goes. And I do mean old… really old. It actually dates back some 500 years before Christ and is attributed to the Greek philosopher, Hericlitus of Ephesus. “Panta rhei” is his famous quote in Greek… everything flows… everything is in flux.
And we have certainly seen this in the world around us with all of the constant change… and at warp speed no less. Oh, how our culture has changed… how society has changed.
The time of John the Baptist was a difficult time. Life was hard. Everyday living… hard. Add to that being under the weight of Roman oppression. It was a tough existence… it was literally tough to exist. Many didn’t… not for long that is. And for John, well, his prison days would soon be over as he is martyred for his faith… martyred for speaking the truth.
The people who lived before John for century upon century and those who would live after him for century upon century would likewise all know a hard life. Much of all time… most of all time has been that way for mankind.
In actuality, it wasn’t until the 20th century with all of its advancements in engineering, technology, science, medicine, manufacturing and farming that life… everyday life… got easier… and easier… and easier. To the point where many of us, most of us today… in this, the 21st century… enjoy lives that are lightyears different and in a myriad of ways better than those who came before us.
So… is this bad? No… if we stay grounded… grounded in the Lord… if we remain strong in Word and Sacrament… ever so resolute. Having been graciously given so much… but it is also challenging… faith wise that is.
John sends his disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:19)
The fact of the matter is John, his disciples and countless people before and after them were, indeed looking… earnestly looking… so-looking… hoping… desiring… praying for “the One who is to come” … for the One the Lord God had promised would come… the Messiah… their Messiah, their Savior… He who would rescue them from their pitiful existence… He who would redeem them from their sins and bring about paradise restored. Such was their longing.
Not so much anymore. In fact, in many places, in many cases, with the majority of the people here on earth… not at all. They are not looking, searching, pining for, pleading for anyone… and certainly not for help… be it spiritual or physical because life is just fine, thank you very much!
All is good in their own eyes… in their own hearts and minds. They are not looking for anyone because quite frankly, they do not need anyone. They are doing fine on their own. They are happy… content… satisfied… at peace… or so they think.
My friends, we live in a world, in a society among many family members, friends, co-workers, fellow students and strangers who have no need for a savior… or so they think.
Surrounded by all the toys and joys, bells and whistles and creature comforts in almost every part of their life… they are fine… or so they think.
So they think until their world comes crashing down or is turned upside down in one way or another. So they think until they come face to face with their own mortality and what lies on the other side scares them greatly… un-nerves them… rocks them to their very core.
And then they start looking… and grasping. Then come the cries for help which, believe it or not, are oftentimes mixed and mingled with cursing God for allowing this or that to happen to them or to a loved one.
They curse, they blame and complain about the One… the only One who can help… the only One who can rescue them or their loved one… the only One who can remove the root cause for all that is terrible, terrifying and deadly in their lives and ours… namely sin.
With sin… with the fall into sin came death and disease, heartaches, headaches and everything wrong. And ever since, the search was on for the One who would… could… make it all right again, righteous and holy again… perfect and pure again.
The search… mankind’s search… John’s search… his disciple’s search… ended… it ends for all of us in Jesus Christ… Jesus who is truly the Christ… the anointed One… the promised Messiah.
“Go and tell John … the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”(Luke 7:22-23)
Did you hear that? Has it sunk in? What Christ really did… and this out of love, pure love. Those totally blind… given their sight. Those who could not walk, could not only walk, but run and leap for joy. Those who couldn’t hear a thing, now could and especially the sweet voice of their Savior. Those who were dead… who had no life in them… brought back to life by the One who is the Lord of life. It all happened… really happened… and John’s disciples along with so many others, saw it with their own eyes… saw Him with their own eyes.
“Go and tell John … the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Thanks be to God that by the mighty working of His Holy Spirit, we are not offended by Christ. Not in the least. Instead we rejoice in Him… we who need not look for any other because there is no other. Jesus is our everything.
May we not get caught up in this world, in this festive time… in all that we have… to the extent that we forget that… lose sight of that… lose the God-given perspective of Jesus… who He is and who we are because of Him… redeemed, rescued, forgiven and restored with all good things to look forward to now in time and infinitely more in the world to come.
Our Lord said, “Go and tell John.” And so the disciples did. Brothers and sisters, especially now… oh-so now… may we do the same thing for so many who need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Go… and tell!
Yes, there are a lot who have ears that do not hear and eyes that do not see. Many whose hearts are cold and lifeless. Countless numbers covered in the leprosy of sin and those who carry the sentence of eternal death in hell. But remember what the Lord can do. It is by His power and might. It is His Holy Spirit working in you and through you.
Simply share the Good News… and this again and again and again… as you also rejoice in the Good News of what has taken place… the manger… the cross… the empty tomb… and what will soon come to be… Your Lord coming… returning to you and me to take us to our heavenly home. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“Are You the One?” 12/16/18 The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.