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Notes for Advent 3 – Matthew 11:2-10

by pastorjuhl ~ December 8th, 2008

Traditionally, the Church features rose colored paraments on this Sunday. The Sunday Mass is known as “Gaudete” or “Rejoice”, from the first word of the Introit. This Sunday stands out as an oasis of joy amid the penitential tone of Advent.

Fred Lindemann, “The Sermon and the Propers”

The Lord still has His messengers who are to prepare the faithful for a blessed commemoration of the First Advent, for the Constant Coming in Word and Sacrament, and for the Coming in Power and Glory. They are the Ministers of Christ.

Christmas means more than gushing over a touching story or indulging in a spree of unselfish giving. We need to have the voice in the wilderness cry to us, “Make straight in the desert a highway for your God!” God is coming. Prepare His way into your hearts and lives, for it is here that He would enter and rule.

The Child in the manger can mean nothing to us unless we come with the words ringing in our hearts, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Thank God if you come to Bethlehem with guilt feelings! You may leave them there and go away without them.

Pius Parsch, “The Church’s Year of Grace”

With these few words Jesus well describes His kingdom of grace. In today’s Gospel He also presents His faithful forerunner as the model for Advent hope, the model for all who seek God and who are willing to clear the way from His entrance.

Christ is here proclaiming to us His spiritual activity in the kingdom of God. He is the “Savior” who seeks to heal the lame, the deaf, the bling; He intends to raise up the dead; He wants to bring the good news of salvation to the poor. Only be on guard not to take offense at His unpretentious ways. Then He Himself introduces the Baptist to us as the herald who will ready the way…. We notice in the Gospel that the Church gives prominence to three works of Christ, works which have symbolical meaning in the kingdom of God: enlightenment (through baptism), resurrection (from sin), and joyous tidings (the Gospel message).

Dom Prosper Gueranger, “The Liturgical Year”

Thou art He that was to come, O Jesus! We look for no other. We were blind, Thou hast enlightened us; we were lame, Thou hast made us walk; the leprosy of sin disfigured us, Thou hast cleansed us; we were deaf to Thy words, Thou hast given us hearing; we were dead in sin, Thou hast given us life again; we were poor and had none to care for us, Thou hast come to us with every aid and consolation. These have been, and will again be, the blessings to Thy visit to our souls, O Jesus! A visit, silent but wonderful in its work; which flesh and blood cannot understand, but which faithful hearts feel is granted them. Come my Saviour, come to me, Thy condescension, and familiarity with such poverty as mine, shall not scandalize me; Thy workings in the souls of men are proof enough that Thou art God. He alone, that created souls, can heal them (Vol. 1, p. 167).

Church Fathers

Stop your ears, therefore, when anyone speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, Who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; Who was truly born, and did eat and drink. He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; He was truly crucified and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. (Ignatius, Epistle to the Trallians)

Moreover, He referred to the fact that there would be no longer in your nation any prophet, and to the fact that men recognized how that the New Testament, which God formerly announced [His intention of] promulgating, was then present, i.e., Christ Himself; and in the following terms: “the law and the prophets were until John the Baptist; from that time the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. and if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah, who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho)

It is the office of the prophet to foretell future events, not to point them out. John therefore is more than a prophet, because Him of whom He had prophesied, he had also pointed out. (Gregory the Great)

The force and significance of [verse 6] must be carefully dwelt on; on that, namely, which is preached to the poor; that is, they who have laid down their lives, who have taken up the cross and followed after, who have become humble in spirit, for these a kingdom is prepared in heaven. Therefore, because this universality of suffering was to be fulfilled in Christ Himself, and because His cross would become a stumbling block to many (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23), He now declares that they are blessed to whom His cross, His death, and burial, will offer no trial of faith. So He makes clear that of which already, earlier, John had himself warned them, saying that blessed are they in whom there would be nothing of scandal concerning Himself. For it was through fear of this that John had sent his disciples, so that they might see and hear Christ. (Hilary of Poitiers)

Blessed Martin Luther

(John) sent his disciples to Christ that they would not only hear the prophet’s testimony, but with their own ears hear the preaching and with their own eyes see the miracles…. Then from His preaching and His miracles they would recognize that He was the man and true teacher for whom until now the whole world had been waiting (House Postil).

John sends them to Christ so that from now on they might learn not only from the witness he bore of Christ, but also from the words and deeds of Christ Himself that He was the One of whom John had spoken (Church Postil).

Blessed Johann Gerhard

When John began his ministry in the desert, and you en masse went out to him, what were you looking for from him? Were you wanting to see a stalk which the wind blows back and forth? John was not fickle and fluctuating, so that he would have allowed himself to be blown back and forth by the winds of tribulation. Or what did you go out to see? Were you wanting to see a man in soft clothing? Take note, those who wear soft clothes are in king’s palaces. John did not want to be hypocritical on account of Herod for the sake of soft clothing and good fortune. Instead, he was a preacher of sharp repentance to Herod. Were you wanting to see a prophet? Indeed, I tell you, he also is more than a prophet; for this one is he about whom it has been written: See I send my angel [messenger] ahead of You, who shall prepare Your way before You. John is not only a steadfast confessor of the truth. Instead, He is higher than any other prophet on account of his office. For the prophets of the Old Testament had prophesied about the future coming of Christ, the Messiah, but John in His presence, pointed Him out with his finger. The prophets first prophesied about Christ in their adulthood, but John pointed Him out by jumping in his mother’s womb. The other prophets did not do away with the Levitical worship and the prototypes of the Old Testament. However, John initiated the New Testament with his Baptism; indeed, he baptized the Lord of all prophets, Christ. And, to sum up: For all the prophets and the Law have prophesied up until John (Matthew 11:12). In this matter and on account of this reason, John is more than a prophet. Indeed, no one born of a woman has ever arisen who is greater than John the Baptist (Postilla, 1:31-32).

Hymn Plan: LSB 344, 345, 349/338, 347

1 Response to Notes for Advent 3 – Matthew 11:2-10

  1. Bryan Wolfmueller

    “He is the ‘Savior’ who seeks to heal the lame, the deaf, the bling.” The “bling”? That’s the coolest typo I’ve ever met!

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