Matthew 11:3-5 and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 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.
If John the Baptist is about prepare the way of the Lord, two questions need to be answered, what is prepare? And who is the Lord? The first question is in some ways a familiar question, for the world is already in the Christmas season Ė the season at least of getting ready for Christmas. What do you have to do to be ready for Christmas? Ask the question, and almost everyone has a list, almost everyone knows what they must do to be ready for Christmas. And almost everyone is at the point of almost being overwhelmed by all the things they want to get done, and in the back of their mind fears that much will remain undone Ė and in the world, that can be the difference between a good Christmas and disappointment. And while many lament, no one seems to know how to set things right.
Funny thing is, that if you rephrase the question: What must I do to be saved? Many would soon recognize that no one can save themselves. Whatever works we could do, will never be enough to pay our debts, or win forgiveness for our sins. When it comes to meeting God, not only is there the good I would that I did not, and the evil I would not that I did Ė but there is that fear Ė I am not ready, Iím not prepared, Iím not worthy to come into His presence. Why? We confess we are spiritually blind spiritually dead and an enemy of God. We are lame, we do not walk in the way of light. We are dumb, we do not tell the good news. We are lepers, crying unclean, unclean. We are poor miserable sinners.
The funny thing about the "prepare" that John had in mind, was that it was not something we do, its something God does, the Law shows us our sins, but it does not save us. The gospel shows us our Savior, shows us that God leads us in the way of repentance, gives us faith to trust the gracious promise, that it is God who purchases and wins for us the forgiveness for our sins in the precious blood of Jesus.
And thatís what we see John doing today, showing us Jesus Ė John knows his end is near, he knows the Savior is at hand, and it is time that his disciples see it too, so he sends them to Jesus so they can see for themselves. The Lord is an awesome God, awesome in his grace, mercy and love. God who comes doing wonderful things for those who need it most.
Who is the Lord, and why do we rejoice at his coming? Our Savior comes, giving sight to the blind, giving hearing to the deaf, making the lame to walk, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and bringing the good news of salvation to us poor miserable sinners. Doesnít the blood of Jesus wash away all our sins and make us clean? Donít the waters of Baptism give us new and everlasting life? Havenít we heard the good news of salvation? And doesnít the grace of God give us the power to walk by faith, resist temptation, overcome the devil, and live as the children of God?
John helped his disciples see Jesus, and we see him too. Thatís who the Lord is, thatís why we rejoice. The long awaited Savior is come. So we tell what we have seen and what we have heard, we tell the good news of Jesus our Lord, and give thanks to God for his grace, mercy and everlasting love.