Advent 3 – Matthew 11:2-11
Today is the third Sunday of Advent, this is the season where we look forward to the coming of God from heaven, becoming true man, born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus is the One Who Is To Come, the Coming One. We don’t have to look any further.
This is He whom John the Baptist points us to. Jesus is the kingdom of heaven. We must repent of our sins and turn away from evil. We must return to the Lord our God and walk in the way He has prepared for us to go. Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life. Our paths in Him are straight. The way of Jesus is to call sinners to repentance and receive the forgiveness of sins. This is the straight path we must walk in.
Jesus loves us, even though we do not deserve to be loved. This is why we turn away from sin, because of God’s undeserved love for us. For God the Father so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son unto death on the cross, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life in heaven. Jesus has shown us mercy, we are not punished, even though we deserve to be punished. This is why we seek forgiveness, it is for the forgiveness of sins that Jesus suffered for us.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus has purchased and one us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent, bitter suffering and death. Jesus is the One whom John baptized in the Jordan River to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus took our sins and made them His own. The Son of God suffered humility and pain and death on our behalf. He comes not to condemn us sinners but to save us. Jesus comes to crush the head of the serpent with HIs death, restoring creation, making all things new.
This is why we celebrate God coming to us at Christmas, lying in a manger, in a stable in Bethlehem. This is why we celebrate and look forward to Jesus’ second coming, when He will come again to judge the living and the dead. We are not afraid. The forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come in heaven are promised ours. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! The Lord is at hand! He forgives the iniquity of His people; He covers all our sin.This is why, on this Third Sunday of Advent, in a season of repentance, we light the rose colored candle. The color rose reminds us of the color of blood, Jesus’ blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins. We rejoice in Jesus’ blood. We rejoice that Jesus is the coming one. He comes to save us. He comes to forgive us all our sins.
When John the Baptist was in prison and sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
The Son of God has spoken and we have heard. We are the Good Shepherd’s sheep, we hear His voice, and we know Him, and we follow Him. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gives us eternal life, and we will never perish, and no one will snatch us out of His hand. As His sheep, we are required to listen to Jesus speak. And the words that He speaks to us are forgiveness and life. His words grant us peace. As the Good Shepherd’s sheep, we see our Good Shepherd, He lays down His life unto death on the cross for us sheep. We see our Salvation. Jesus comes to save us and we follow Him. Jesus is the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome. Jesus is the Light to our path, that we would walk in the way He desires us to go. Let us hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to his people, to his saints; let us not turn back to folly, to the ways of the devil, the world and our sinful ways.
This truth of God coming down from heaven to save sinners, it is what the prophets and apostles proclaimed, it is what it means to be a member of the One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church, it is in this that we all rejoice.
Because of this truth that we have seen, the blind receive their sight and the deaf hear. No longer are any of us who are baptized blind. Now we taste and see that the Lord is good, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love toward us forever. We rejoice, because we see the salvation who comes to us in the body and blood, for us Christians to eat and drink.
Because of this truth that each one of us have heard, the lame walk, we walk in the path we have been taught to go. We rejoice, returning to this place, where Jesus promises to be, feeding us with His Bread of Life and Cup of Salvation.
Because of this truth that we have heard and seen, the lepers are cleansed. We rejoice in the forgiveness of sins, which heals us of all our wounds and diseases. In the body and blood of Jesus, which we eat and drink in Holy Communion, we are washed clean, our sins are as white as snow. We are strengthened to fight the fight of faith. The devil and all evil have no power over us.
Because of this truth that each one of us have heard and seen and believed, the dead are raised up. We rejoice in the Lord always. No longer are we dead in the dust, we are raised up to new life. We are a new creation. The hope and the promise of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life in heaven, when Jesus comes again in judgement, are ours. We eat the Bread of Life and drink the Blood that Jesus shed and we are alive. We live before God in righteousness and purity all the days of our life.
This is the Good News that the poor have preached to them. This is what you and I demand to hear and see and receive from this pulpit, from that baptismal font, from that altar. It is in this that we rejoice. It is in this that we are richly and daily provided for. We are not in want.
Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is no small thing for us to come into this church and stand before the altar of God and confess the truth of Jesus Christ. It is no small thing to reject the devil and his works and his ways. It is no small thing to separate ourselves from the ways of world. Blessed are you and me and all those who believe and are baptized. Ours is the kingdom of heaven. We are comforted. We inherit the earth. We are satisfied. We receive mercy. We see God. We are sons of God. We are blessed. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! The Lord is at hand! Amen.