This coming Sunday will be the third Sunday of Advent. One of the Gospel readings for this Sunday comes to us from Matthew 11:1-10. Jesus’ cousin John has been thrown in prison. However, John is still able to hear about Jesus’ activities. John, curious about what is going on, sends his disciples to Jesus to ask him if He is the expected Messiah. N.T. Wright in his Matthew for Everyone commentary makes some interesting suggestions about why John would ask such a question.
- That John expected the Messiah to be like Elijah. More specifically, he expected Jesus to confront the powers of His day with shock and awe. If people didn’t believe or receive Him as king, they would be destroyed like the Baal worshippers in Elijah’s day when he called down fire from heaven.
- That Jesus would confront Herod and put an end to his kingship and rule. Then Jesus would take over as the true king with John close by His side.
Wright goes on to say that Jesus is one step ahead of John’s preconceived story line. John thinks Jesus should be ushering in judgment, but instead all he hears about is mercy.
What do you think?
Why was John so confused?
Did he have a right to be confused?
How might we, like John the Baptist, confuse the church’s mission?
Should Jesus’ ministry be reflected in how the church ministers?
How does this relate to what the church should be doing today?