Sunday, December 18, 2016

Are You the One?

Luke 7:17-23
This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 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.”

What do you come expecting when you come to celebrate Christmas? What are your expectations? What are you celebrating? One of the themes as we prepare for Christmas is a theme of waiting. While we wait for Christmas day, that is waiting for a celebration of a day that has already happened. Jesus was already born. But we do wait for something else; we wait for Jesus’ return. So the theme for this year’s Christmas Revival is “wait.” Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. 

In today’s scripture, John the Baptist has been waiting. You may remember John the Baptist from the earlier accounts from his ministry, how he preached a baptism of repentance, how Jesus came to him to be baptized in the Jordan. But now, John is in prison. He had the audacity to speak out against King Herod, who threw him in prison. John is struggling, so he has his disciples go to Jesus and asks “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 

Why would he even ask this? Because he had come to expect the wrong Messiah. He was waiting, but not waiting for the right thing. One of the problems in life is that we have twisted the gospel so we expect the wrong things from God. We wait for the wrong things. I see stickers on cars proclaiming 2016 the year of bountiful increase or the year of prosperity. They think God is a genie waiting to give out money. Then 2016 passes by and they have to get a new sticker. Maybe 2017 will be that year.  We have endless problems when we make Jesus into something he isn’t. Here in Zambia we wait for all kinds of things with no problems. We have a meeting and it starts an hour late and people don’t mind waiting. We wait for buses and everything else. Zambians are far more patient than Americans with all these things. But when it comes to waiting on God, we’re impatient. We want God to respond now. If He doesn’t, we go to the witch doctor.

So how did Jesus respond to John the Baptist’s question? He told him to report what they’d seen: 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. This would sound familiar if you’re reading straight through Luke’s Gospel, because to get to Luke 7, you have to have read Luke 4:16-21 

Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus let John the Baptist know that he was indeed the one for whom he had been waiting. He is the fulfillment of prophecy. He is the answer. Here in Zambia, we often expect God to move in ways contrary to his nature. How will God move? What will God do? God’s actions will always follow God’s character. God will move according to his Word.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.


This is the theme verse for Christmas Revival. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. To do these things, you have to know the Lord. You have to know what he is doing. This is illuminated in God’s Word.