9TH DECEMBER 2021
GOD'S INTERVENTION AND THE GREATNESS OF
Before we read today's Gospel passage, Jesus has already asked the crowds the following questions about John the Baptist " What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes I tell you, and more than a prophet. " These are rhetorical questions that need no answers because the crowds already knew who John the Baptist was and what he came to do. Jesus asked the questions to create an effect and to make a point and to challenge the faith of the crowd in relation to his role as the one whom John the Baptist prepared the way for.
Another important thing to note is that before Jesus asked these rhetorical questions about John the Baptist, John himself while in prison and upon hearing the works of the
Messiah, also sent his disciples to ask Jesus , " Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? This question shows that John had issues with his confidence and perhaps his very mission and identity.
The movement from these questions of Jesus and John that lead us to today's Gospel reading is both unexpected and a little bit confusing because while Jesus extols John as the greatest among those born of women he also says that there are persons even greater than John the Baptist, why? The reason is that while John stood before the coming of the Kingdom of God the crowds stood within the Kingdom of God.
John lived within the limitations of his period in which he reminded the people that as the children of Abraham they needed to produce good fruits as evidence of their repentance - Matthew 3:1-12 but he didn't see Jesus actually forgive those who repented and even sacrificing his life for them.
With this in mind, it means that we are living in a period in which we are drawn into the Kingdom of the grace of God through our belief in Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we do not know or experience the limitations that John experienced and in that sense we are greater than John.
Let us remember that when John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the one to come or they should wait for someone else, Jesus told them to go and tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the sick are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and that the good news is preached to the poor; John missed out on all these, he missed out on the culmination of all these on the cross.
Time comes with its own limitation and experience not only spiritually but also culturally, financially, intellectually or even constitutionally in terms of governance
Change of attitude and new ideas and some happenings come at particular moments.
How does it feel for you to participate in the synod by giving your ideas? How does it feel to witness the projects in our parish? How does it feel to know and see that we had missionaries but now we have local priests? Don't you feel great and fulfilled?
It is true that time comes with it's limitations as we said but when God comes into time we get the opportunity to understand the limitations but at the same time to be open to the newness that comes with God's intervention and our greatness comes in seeing the newness and living according to God's intervention.