Least Expected (Original Title, “Third Sunday in Advent”)
This is the sermon Pastor Marnie Leinberger offered Sunday, December 7, 2014. The scripture is Matthew 11:2-12. The sermon was written by Barbara Brown Taylor and can be found here. In our service we read from the New Revised Standard Version and from The Message, a modern interpretation by Eugene Peterson. We read both with the hope that our understanding will be enriched.
This is from The Message:
2John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, 3he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?”4Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on: 5The blind see, The lame walk, Lepers are cleansed, The deaf hear, the dead are raised, The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side. 6“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!” 7When John’s disciples left to report, Jesus started talking to the crowd about John. “What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A weekend camper? Hardly. 8What then? A sheik in silk pajamas? Not in the wilderness, not by a long shot. 9What then? A prophet? That’s right, a prophet! Probably the best prophet you’ll ever hear. 10He is the prophet that Malachi announced when he wrote, ‘I’m sending my prophet ahead of you, to make the road smooth for you.’ 11“Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. 12For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s kingdom.
The New Revised Standard Version can be found here.