Proclaim the good news of the gospel
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is 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 cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” – Matthew 11:2-6
As we celebrate Advent, let us go and tell the story of the Messiah who came to Earth, lived among us, and died to redeem us. This is the greatest story of all time. Let us tell it and retell it, so that generations unborn will know that the Messiah came in his first Advent and will come again, his second advent, to gather his church in glory.
The text tells us that John was in prison. He was waiting either to be set free or to die.
While waiting in prison, for either death or life, John heard about the things that Jesus was doing. Consequently, he sent his disciples to question Jesus about his person. “Who are you? Are you the one who is to come or should we wait for someone else?”
In the past, when a savior came to the people, he appeared as a mighty warrior, wielding a sword. However, Jesus came as a peacemaker. Instead of a sword, he came with love, compassion and humility.
In response to John’s question, Jesus sent John’s disciples back to him with comforting words. Tell John what you have seen of my power. The God of host has come near to His people. In his response, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61.
Isaiah’s prophecy gives signs of the coming Messiah. John would immediately understand when he hears of what was being done in the name of the Lord. His wait in prison would be comforted with the confirmation that God’s Messiah had come.
When Christ’s words got back to John, he, John, would realize that his work had been completed. His God-given assignment was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah.
Jesus instructed them to tell John of the wonderful things they saw being done. The blind received their sight. The lame walked and those who had leprosy were cured. Additionally, the dead were being brought back from the grave.
What good news to all. The Messiah was bringing hope to the lost. The mighty work which was being done among the people was of a divine nature. This power assured the people that Jesus came from God.
He instructed John’s disciples to tell him what they had heard. The people were receiving the good news of the gospel. The poor were preaching the gospel.
Those who Christ had chosen to proclaim his kingdom were poor men. They were not great scholars. No! Our Lord chose common men who were not even very well known or learned.
By choosing unknown and unlearned men, Jesus infuriated the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Scribes. Jesus was changing the way things were done in Palestine.
During Old Testament times, the prophets were sent to kings and princes. However, Christ preached to the common, ordinary people of his day. They were being evangelized. Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.” (Isaiah 61:1 )
Jesus was fulfilling this prophecy in the community in which John had lived and among the people to whom he had proclaimed the message of repentance. This story is to be told and retold, especially during Advent. Let us actively proclaim the good news of the gospel while we wait our Lord’s second advent. Amen.
• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.