December 15 Sermon – “Joy…To Get Me through the Tough Days”
Following a word of judgment against the surrounding nations, the Prophet Isaiah promises restoration of the Promised Land and the joyful return of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem. The promises in this passage:
- Fertile Land
- End of Human Suffering & Sickness
- Restoration & Hope
- The Joyful Return of Exiles
Verses 9-10 – The blind receiving their sight is a sign of the coming of the Messiah. This ties in with our Gospel reading for this Sunday (See Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s question while John the Baptist was in prison – Matthew 11)
John the Baptist has been arrested and imprisoned. Discouraged and in doubt, he sends messengers to ask Jesus: “Are you the one?
This passage shows that people, including John the Baptist who was now in prison, were questioning when God’s kingdom would be revealed. John the Baptist needed reassurance that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
The expectation was that the Messiah would confront the political powers that were dominating Israel and usher in freedom and God’s kingdom. Jesus is the promised Messiah but his mission was very different from the expectations of the people.
Jesus’ mission was one of mercy and love and not of military uprisings. The signs of God’s kingdom were already happening. Jesus lists these as people receiving sight, lame people walking, the deaf being able to hear again, and the poor hearing good news. This list reminds us of our Isaiah passage for this Sunday. The answer to the question of John the Baptist if he is truly the Messiah is for him to look at these signs.
Signposts – The list of good things that Jesus was doing are like signposts that the Kingdom of God was drawing near. What signposts of the kingdom do you see happening in the course of your daily living? List them.
[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican” lectionary commentaries.]