Lectionary reading for 12/8/2021: Psalm 126; Isaiah 35:3-7; Luke 7:18-30
Selected passage for reflection: Luke 7:18-30
Luke 7:18-30 New International Readers Version
Jesus and John the Baptist
18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. So he chose two of them. 19 He sent them to the Lord. John told them to ask him, “Are you the one who is supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?”
20 The men came to Jesus. They said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask you, ‘Are you the one who is supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?’ ”
21 At that time Jesus healed many people. They had illnesses, sicknesses and evil spirits. He also gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So Jesus replied to the messengers, “Go back to John. Tell him what you have seen and heard. Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk. Those who have skin diseases are made ‘clean.’ Deaf people hear. Those who are dead are raised to life. And the good news is announced to those who are poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not give up their faith because of me.”
24 So John’s messengers left. Then Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? Tall grass waving in the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. Those who wear fine clothes and have many expensive things are in palaces. 26 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 He is the one written about in Scripture. It says,
“ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you.
He will prepare your way for you.’ (Malachi 3:1)
28 I tell you, no one more important than John has ever been born. But the least important person in God’s kingdom is more important than John is.”
29 All the people who heard Jesus’ words agreed that God’s way was right. Even the tax collectors agreed. These people had all been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the authorities on the law did not accept for themselves God’s purpose. So they had not been baptized by John.
Here we have John the Baptist who is in prison for preaching the news of the coming Messiah. John’s disciples were telling him about what this Jesus guy was doing. John sent two of his men to go find Jesus and ask him if he was the one that had come or should they keep looking? Of all people who would have been able to recognize the Messiah, John was questioning if Jesus was the One. But instead of stuffing his doubt, he sent men to the source to ask his questions.
Jesus was not put off by John’s questions. He welcomed them and answered them. His answer was:
“Go back to John. Tell him what you have seen and heard. Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk. Those who have skin diseases are made ‘clean.’ Deaf people hear. Those who are dead are raised to life. And the good news is announced to those who are poor. Blessed is anyone who does not give up their faith because of me.” -Luke 7:22-23 NIRV
This is what the coming Messiah was called to do, and Jesus was doing it. See, Jesus was never afraid of those the world considered “unclean, broken or cast out” because, all that Jesus saw was people he dearly loved. Not only did Jesus welcome the blind, disabled, unclean, deaf, dead, and poor, he sought them out. He welcomed them into his family, just as he does for all people regardless of their “issues”. He reached into the broken and dark places and shined his light and healed what was broken.
This is precisely what Jesus is still doing today. He is working in our lives, even when we can’t see it. He is giving us a story that he wants us to share with others. He had brought us in and given us a family in Christ Jesus. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Our problems do not scare him. Matter of fact, he can and does for us to give us life in the dark and dying places.
What parts of your life do you believe are too broken and messed up for Jesus to redeem? What if you knew that no matter, Jesus would welcome you in, would you then decide to come to him then? Is there someone in your life that needs the hope of the Gospel and Jesus meeting us where we are?
Jesus, you are never shocked or surprised by what I do and how I am treated by others. You see me in my broken and hurting places and you welcome me to bring them to you so you can shine your light and bring hope. You are with me in all situations. You are not scared by anything going on. Thank you for giving me a seat at your table just as I am.
About the Author
My name is Heather. I am a chaplain in a local hospital in New Orleans. I have a Masters of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary and I am a deacon at my church. I am also a survivor and advocate for those traumatized by the church.