This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Friday, 9 December 2016
Matthew 11:2-11 Expectations
you ever been in a situation where people did not live up to the hopes and
expectations you had for them? If so, you can probably understand why John the
Baptist was confused in the reading we heard from Matthew 11:2-11
was he confused? There are two possible reasons. One is that his imprisonment
could have affected his thinking. Prisons in John’s day were not like they are
today. John was locked up in a dungeon in Herod’s palace. The dungeon was like a
cave-dark and depressing.
second, more likely reason is because Jesus was not the type of Messiah John
preached about, not was he the type of Messiah the people were looking for.
Both John and the people were looking for a military-type of ruler who would
drive out the Romans and restore Israel to the glory days of King David.
scary times can shake us up and cause us to have doubts about our faith. John
the Baptist is a good example. When we, like John, are moved by the Holy
Spirit, we vow to follow God. When we receive blessings, we are sure that Jesus
is our Saviour. When we face tragedies and disasters, we question our faith. We
question why these things happen. We are wrapped up in our suffering that
sometimes we can’t see, hear or feel God’s presence.
clearly shows us what happens to his and our narrow expectations. Christ came
for him but he came in a way that John did not expect. We will find
reconciliation and peace if we can see beyond our expectations and look for new
places where Jesus is working. Jesus came to reverse things.
did not live up to the expectations of the people. He blessed the poor in
spirit, the meek and peacemakers. He called on his people not to judge others.
These teachings were contrary to the actions the people expected because of
John’s fire and brimstone preaching.
did not answer John’s question directly. At that time, it was shameful and
dishonourable to publicly claim for oneself a higher status than one was born
with. In the eyes of the people, he was a carpenter’s son and not the Son of
God. He did not openly declare that He was the Messiah. Instead, He proclaimed
the kingdom of God.
expectation that was met was the expectation that society would be changed. The
prophecies of healing in the last days came true when Jesus came, and they are
coming true as the date of His Second Coming approaches. That healing shows its
face in Jesus’ compassion-the same compassion we are to show to a hurting
came to help those in need, those who don’t have anyone else to help them. He
didn’t come to destroy the wicked. He came to restore them and give them a
second change. In other words, he came for us. We are the ones who need help.
We are the ones who need someone to help us. We are the wicked who need a
did preach repentance, but he offered mercy and healing. Jesus judges us
through mercy. Judgment has come, and Jesus the judge has decided that those of
us who have accepted him as our Saviour by faith will receive mercy. In return,
we are to continue his ministry of healing and teaching.
requires doubt in order to be faith. All of us have doubts about Jesus and our
faith from time to time, especially if we are suffering or praying for
something. Sometimes we wonder why God allows suffering or why God doesn’t
answer our prayers. At times like these we must be like John. He had doubts,
but he was open to hearing Jesus say that He is the Messiah. God doesn’t get
mad at us when we have doubts. In fact, he is loving and gracious. He cares
about our doubts and problems, but He cares more about us. All of our doubts
will be gone and all of our questions will be answered when we get to heaven.
we have doubts, we can do the following things:
1.Admit our doubts
and ask for help like John did.
2.Acton our faith
and not on our doubts.
3.Keep going back
to what we know to be true.
we have blinders on. These blinders hinder our vision of where God is. If we
take these blinders off we can see where God is in our lives and trust him.
answered John’s doubts with a report of His dramatic work. Matthew mentions the
giving of sight to the blind first in order to highlight Jesus’ unique
ministry. The Old Testament does not record the blind being healed, nor does
the New Testament record any of Jesus’ disciples performing such a miracle. It
is the most frequent healing miracle that Jesus performed. Jesus also healed
the lame, the lepers and the deaf, and he raised the dead. Each of these
compassionate acts was proof that Jesus was the Messiah.
asks us to stretch our understanding of who the Messiah is-a different model
than the magical problem-solver and giver of good things that we want to have.
When we remain faithful in the face of prayers that are not answered or hopes
that go unfulfilled. God does not promise a life without pain, but He does
promise that He will walk with us and that we will come out whole in the end.
used a series of rhetorical questions to get the crowd to appraise John the
Baptist. They were so interested in him because he was a humble prophet who
spoke a piercing message. That message landed John the Baptist in jail. King
Herod married his brother’s ex-wife, and John told him that was wrong. Herod
did not like that message, so he had John the Baptist arrested.
insisted that John was more than a humble prophet because he served as His
forerunner. John the Baptist was therefore greater than Isaiah, Daniel, Elijah
or any of the other Old Testament prophets because only John had the privilege
of personally introducing the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the nation of Israel. He
was also lesser than the least in the kingdom because he did not see the full
work of Christ-his death, resurrection and ascension. We have experienced all
of these because of our faith in what Christ did for us on the cross. We have
experienced the actual atoning work of Christ. We are also greater than John
because the Holy Spirit lives in us.
Jesus said that the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the
Baptist, he was not belittling John but highlighting the extraordinary
privilege of being in the kingdom. John prepared the way for the coming of the
Messiah, but those in the kingdom experience its reality.
is a time of expectation, a time of waiting for the coming of our Saviour. He
comes among us in His Word and through the Holy Spirit. He stirs us up and gets
us involved in His ministry among those who are neglected by our society. That
is his expectation for us, and it is also the world’s expectation for us as
Christians, so it should be our expectation as well. It is up to us to meet
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King
James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1299-1300)