3rd Sunday in Advent
Luke 7:18–28 (29–35)
The Coming of Jesus enables us to rejoice
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.
The Third Sunday in Advent has traditionally been called by the Latin word, ‘Gaudete,’ meaning “Rejoice!” For as you are called to repentance, so also are you urged to rejoice in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His own Cross, He has accomplished salvation for you; “He has cleared away your enemies,” “taken away the judgments against you,” and has come to reign in your midst. Indeed, He rejoices over you with gladness and song! (Zephaniah 3:15–17). Therefore, even from prison St. Paul encourages us to “rejoice in the Lord always,” knowing that the peace of God will guard and keep us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4, 7).
We find an example and encouragement in the case of John the Baptist. As he languishes in prison, he calls upon Jesus and is strengthened by the Word of the Gospel that he receives. The same good news is preached to you, by which all things are made new and even “the dead are raised up” (Luke 7:22). Do not be offended by the cross, therefore, but let your life be one of prayer and thanksgiving (Luke 7:23; Philippians 4:6).
Messengers from John the Baptist
Καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν Ἰωάννῃ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ περὶ πάντων τούτων. καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος δύο τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ὁ Ἰωάννης
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John,
ἔπεμψεν πρὸς τὸν [a]κύριον λέγων• Σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἢ [b]ἄλλον προσδοκῶμεν;
calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Vv. 18-19 is John doubting or doing what he has always been doing? The question invokes Jesus' response. His entire ministry is pointing to Jesus...these two receive confirmation. Or are John's disciples doubting themselves? The same outcome occurs regardless. If doubting why? Is it a theology of the cross or glory.
These two, are they the same as in John 1, Andrew?
But clearly someone is struggling trying to understand the ministry/ identity of Jesus...does he come in wrath or mercy? "The one coming into the world"(v. 19) is technical term for the Messiah.
παραγενόμενοι δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ ἄνδρες εἶπαν• Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς [c]ἀπέστειλεν ἡμᾶς πρὸς σὲ λέγων• Σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἢ ἄλλον προσδοκῶμεν;
And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”
The overarching question; “are you the Christ?”
1. Who in the scriptures doesn't struggle with the cross? John who is in chains, not set free, but in prison. What does bound/set free mean? In his misery he needs to hear the gospel.
2. The message of the cross - this is your cross highlighted in John, the disciples, the sufferer is content, those closest to him suffer, struggle, question.
ἐν [d]ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς ἀπὸ νόσων καὶ μαστίγων καὶ πνευμάτων πονηρῶν, καὶ τυφλοῖς πολλοῖς [e]ἐχαρίσατο βλέπειν.
In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight.
- He healed many of many afflictions right after the question. They report back what they have seen/heard.
1. They question
2. The confirmation
Those only looking for a miracle are asking with the wrong intentions...they need what they see and hear.
καὶ [f]ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Πορευθέντες ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰωάννῃ ἃ εἴδετε καὶ ἠκούσατε• [g]τυφλοὶ ἀναβλέπουσιν, χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν, λεπροὶ καθαρίζονται, [h]κωφοὶ ἀκούουσιν, νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται, πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται•
And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers[a] are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.
-Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13
- answering he said, relay back to John what you have heard/seen...the poor have the good news preached...there's the good news.
καὶ μακάριός ἐστιν ὃς ἐὰν μὴ σκανδαλισθῇ ἐν ἐμοί.
And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
- blessed is whoever is not scandalized on behalf of Jesus. The scandal is the cross. (do not forget the cross of the Christian life)
Ἀπελθόντων δὲ τῶν ἀγγέλων Ἰωάννου ἤρξατο λέγειν [i]πρὸς τοὺς ὄχλους περὶ Ἰωάννου• Τί [j]ἐξήλθατε εἰς τὴν ἔρημον θεάσασθαι; κάλαμον ὑπὸ ἀνέμου σαλευόμενον;
When John's messengers had gone, Jesus[b] began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
- Concerning John - one not shaken
ἀλλὰ τί [k]ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν; ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς ἱματίοις ἠμφιεσμένον; ἰδοὺ οἱ ἐν ἱματισμῷ ἐνδόξῳ καὶ τρυφῇ ὑπάρχοντες ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις εἰσίν.
What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts.
ἀλλὰ τί [l]ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν; προφήτην; ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, καὶ περισσότερον προφήτου.
What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
οὗτός ἐστιν περὶ οὗ γέγραπται• [m]Ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου ἔμπροσθέν σου.
This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
λέγω ὑμῖν, μείζων ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν [o]Ἰωάννου οὐδείς ἐστιν• ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν.
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software