"Defending John, Preaching Jesus"
Text: Matthew 11:2-10
Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO
Pastor Brian Wolfmueller
"Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen." (Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent)
If you want to listen to the whole thing, click the link above. Below are the notes I took while listening for an overview:
- Feels like the world is falling apart
- Things have always been bad for the people of God because of sin
- We live in a work of darkness, sin, and death--inside and outside of us
- Gaudete Sunday, Rejoice!
- Appropriate that we discuss trials and darkness because the collect for today says, "...lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation."
- We know that we and the world are not how we are/it is supposed to be, so we wait for the world to come
- Advent is the season of preparation, which is why we read about Saint John the Baptist (preparer)
- John leaping in the womb at the presence of Jesus was his first sermon
- John was famous through the ancient world
- John was so popular that the Pharisees sent a delegation to find out if he was the Messiah--John did what he did best, by preaching Jesus to them
- John's greatest sermon: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
- After Herod died, his kingdom was divided in three among his three sons
- Herod Antipon became the ruler in Israel/Judea
- The story of Herod's family was a disaster (Herod Antipon married his niece and brother's wife, Herodias)
- Herod Antipon had Saint John the Baptist arrested for preaching against his marriage to Herodias
- Herodias' daughter, Salome, danced for Herod Antipon, who was so pleased he said he would grant her anything, up to half his kingdom
- After consulting with her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist
- Interesting and surprising that our first glimpse of John the Baptist is when he is in prison, at his weakest and lowest
- We always want a hero--someone who never doubts, but such a man does not exist
- We see the sin of those mentioned in the Bible from Adam to Saint Paul so that we can know salvation is purely the work of God, not the work of any man
- We see John's doubt here when he send his disciples to Jesus
- There was surprise in the crowds at John's doubt--so upsetting, Jesus defends John to the crowds
- Just because you doubt does not take away your faith
- In the Treaties on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Phillip Melanchthon said that worship is faith fighting back despair
- Even in his despair, John knows who to go to--Jesus. We should know this too.