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11 December 2016

WEEK 3: GETTING FIT. FIT FOR WHAT?

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – Sunday 11 December

[Matthew 11: 1-11]

‘The times they are a-changin’

Two months ago, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature. The announcement in October brought mixed reaction. There was some shock and even dismay amongst established writers, but there was delight amongst many people who had loved the radical way he articulated the thoughts and experiences of the voiceless.

People find it hard to understand things that confound their expectations. Our pride and self-satisfaction means we don’t like anything that challenges our view.

Like Naaman - who expected the prophet Elijah to produce a dramatic cure for his leprosy, ‘calling on his God and waving his hand over the spot’, rather than telling him to bathe in a muddy river - the people of Jesus’ time, including John the Baptist, had a certain picture in their minds, an expectation built up over the centuries about what the Messiah would look like and do. Jesus didn’t quite fit the kind of bold challenger to the Roman Empire that they had conjured up. But their expectations were both too romantic and too limiting. Jesus Christ was bringing in a Kingdom to challenge not only a transient earthly ruler, but to bring down the cosmic enemy of humankind who had us in his power; to bring deep and supernatural change, transforming the people and making them whole and fit for the Kingdom of God.

Are we ready for the radical unexpected plans of Jesus Christ? Are we ready to be transfigured into fitness?

 

For further reflection, please read Tom Wright – Advent for Everyone, A Journey Through Matthew, pages 61-65