Summary: A sermon that focuses on the true Joy of Christmas... the joy that we have recieved a messiah!
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
“The Real Joy of Christmas”
(Oops – Jesus wasn’t acting like the messiah… Was he?)
“Are you he who is to come, or should we look for another?” Are you REALLY the Christ? Are you REALLY the messiah? Cause I gotta tell you… we have some serious concerns here. Our teacher, John, has been an awful mess in prison… and to add insult to injury… you haven’t met any of our expectations of the messiah. When John baptized you… he said he was unworthy to even tie your sandals… but what happened to you?
We had such high hopes. We thought the prophet Isaiah had finally been fulfilled. We read the words, “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’” We thought that was you! But where is your vengeance? Where is your divine retribution? Where is our salvation? Last we checked Rome was still here, we were still an oppressed people, and salvation has come to no one!
So we come from John to ask this one question. “Are you he who is to come, or should we look for another?” Are you going to start acting like the messiah, or should we give up on you?
But the truth was… they had already given up on Jesus. He was not… nor would he ever be the messiah that they wanted. They were disappointed that their vengeance – their retribution – their salvation from Rome… had still not come. From their view… it was a world… still without a messiah – and they waited.