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Notes on Matthew 11.2-11 Advent 3 15 December 13

Notes on Matthew 11.2-11  Advent 3  15 December 13

This passage tells us about three people.

The first is Jesus. John the Baptist has been preparing the way for the Messiah. But is Jesus the Messiah? John is now in prison. Perhaps he is not sure about Jesus. His messengers ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” This reminds us that Jesus didn’t act in the way that many expected the Messiah to act.

Jesus’ answer is to remind the messengers about some prophecies from the Old Testament (11.5). Isaiah 35.4-6 and Isaiah 61.1 are two places to look. Jesus says he is doing what the Old Testament said would happen when the Lord came to save his people. John is to understand that Jesus is the Messiah they were expecting.

The second person is John the Baptist. Jesus explains who John is. The crowds went out into the wilderness to see someone who was different. A prophet.  But more than a prophet. This was the special messenger sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Malachi 3 tells about this messenger. At the end of Malachi, he is named as Elijah. Elijah has been dead a long time by the time Malachi writes. The prophecy means that someone like Elijah will come to prepare for the Lord’s coming. John is that one, says Jesus (11.14).

Together Jesus and John the Baptist are very important signs that God is doing what he said he would. He is about to redeem his people.

The third person is the one who is the least in the kingdom of heaven (11.11).  Who is this? Jesus says that they are greater than John the Baptist. John had a great and important role. He was the one who pointed to the Messiah and urged people to follow him.  His message was about repentance, forgiveness of sins, and baptism in water.

Those who are now servants of the King, members of Jesus’ kingdom, have a similar role. But it is greater in this: they now have much more to say about Jesus than John did. Even the least of us. We are people who are called and appointed to proclaim Jesus as Lord of all. We are to speak about all of his life. His death. His resurrection. His rule at the right hand of the Father. To say that he has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28.16). To call people from all the nations to become his disciples.

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