Hear the full audio of The Least in the Kingdom

A sermon on Matthew 11:2-11 (ESV)
Third Sunday in Advent, 17 December 2017

Christ fulfills what the prophets foretold. In caring for John the Baptist, Christ grounds John’s faith outside of his own thoughts and imagination, back to sure ground in the Words and Deeds of God.
There is a difference between what John thinks Jesus should be doing and what Jesus actually is doing. That difference saves us all. Christ acts as he should by doing the will of His father rather than doing things the way we imagine he ought to do them.
This disparity, the gulf between reality and our private imagination, sometimes causes us to stumble. It’s a scandalous, offensive thing. Either we must cast off our own carefully crafted fantasies about Jesus and cling to him as he is—or else hold on to our little pretend version of Jesus and reject the real Christ. That real Jesus Christ came to fulfill his Father’s will and perform His holy, saving work in accordance with the Word of God alone. Rather than deliver us on our own terms, Christ Jesus is our Savior on God’s terms—and that means the cross for him. That also means we deal with Jesus on His Word and Sacrament terms.
That one is blessed indeed who is not offended by Jesus as He is, even when it’s not as we expect him. That one is blessed who is not offended when Jesus does what God commands of him, rather than meeting our demands to save us in some other way. His way involves hearing and believing God’s Word rather than our own imaginations. In the end, the real Jesus is far better than our private fantasy Jesus.

Matthew 11:2-11 (ESV)

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 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. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

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