Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Waiting and Wondering



Dear congregation,

As we continue in this Advent season, and as we await the celebration of the first coming of Christ to His world, we experience a growing expectation, excitement and anticipation as we attend worship services, go caroling together, gather with family and friends, or read, meditate and pray over Advent and Christmas texts from Bible. There is a sense of excitement in the air, even in the dark winter nights of life, that our brighter day of joy is coming soon. Even though we have had many Christmas celebrations come and go, nevertheless each year it is as if it is the first one all over again.

Isaiah, 700 years before Christ, was able to see into the future of the effects of the first coming of Christ, for he spoke of being able to draw water out of the wells of salvation (12:3) and of how the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)

In our text today, we find John the Baptizer in prison, being put there for rebuking Herod for his sin. While there, hearing of the works of Christ, John sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah or should they look for another? John had baptized Jesus at the river Jordan, had seen the Holy Spirit descend upon Him,and had announced to his fellow disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But now here he was in prison.....waiting....wondering......waiting..wondering...

Jesus sends John's disciples back with His answer, which was not for John only, but it is also for you and I today.

May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ unto you today and always. Amen.

Jesus had spend the night in prayer with His Father, (Luke 6:12) and then the next day had appointed His twelve apostles, the account of which is recorded beginning in Matthew 10. Upon completing his initials words of instruction to them, He again returned to teach and preach in their cities. It was during this time that John the Baptizer sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus the question: "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"

Let us read the verses upon which we will base this meditation today.

Matthew 11:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

John had baptized Jesus at the river Jordan, had seen the Holy Spirit descend upon Him,and had announced to his fellow disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But now here he was in prison....


As we think on this, we ask the question, Why was John in prison? Matthew gives us the reason later on in Gospel, in Chapter 14:

KJV Matthew 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.
9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

He was in prison for doing what he was called to do: Preaching repentance even to King Herod.
What did Jesus tell John's disciples to tell John?

Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see.
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Many had been brought to Jesus, and were cast at His feet and were healed. This had been going on since the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, which began after John announced His arrival after Jesus had attained 30 years of age.

Matthew 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:
31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

In our Scripture reading for today, we heard that Isaiah had written in chapter 35 in his book of this 700 years before, as he "saw" into the future of the effects of the Messianic kingdom which John the Baptizer came to announce by calling upon people to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Isaiah described precisely that which Jesus told His disciples to go show John of the things that they had seen and heard.

Reading through Isaiah 35, we are able to see the connection between the physical healing and the spiritual healing that Isaiah connects together. God will come and open the eyes of the blind, open the ears of the deaf, He will enable the crippled man to leap as a deer, He will give the dumb a tongue that will sing and as a result everything will change for those who experience their deliverance from physical captivity. For in verse 10 Isaiah sees the ransomed of the Lord returning, coming to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, for they will obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

It is not certain as to what Jesus meant when He told them to "again show John" what they had seen and heard. Was Jesus telling them to bring to John those who had been physically and spiritually healed? Or was he telling them to go back to John, describing those who had been freed from captivity in a physical sense and a spiritual sense? Regardless of what is meant, Jesus wanted John the Baptizer to see the promises fulfilled that were spoken of by Isaiah years before. For the signs and miracles that Jesus did were designed to point the people to the greatest sign: The Gospel... The suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

"the poor have the gospel preached to them."

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes as to what is meant poor and the Gospel is described by Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

KJV 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:


And now the last verse..What is meant by this?

Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

The word offend means to stumble over, reject, not believe, despise...

Simeon in Luke's Gospel had spoken of this eventuality, of Jesus being One Whom people would either rise or fall upon, and Who would be spoken against..., Jesus addressed later in Matthew's Gospel those who were asking Him for a sign, and Apostle Paul writes of those who seek a sign..

Luke 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;


Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.



1 Cor 1: 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

Here are some other Scriptures that one can consider in this meditation....

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.



KJV Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.


Matthew 9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


2 Cor 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

If we would go to the doctor, we would be diagnosed with a terminal sickness, and the doctor did not tell us of our condition, how would that go for us? What if we were sent home with no diagnosis or warning of impending death? That would be grounds for the doctor to be removed from his practice as we would be greatly offended at his falseness.
It is as if God has come to visit us to tell us of our terminal sin sickness, has given His Son to take away our sin, and then through His Holy Spirit has come to lift us up to Himself. He has not come to beat us down with the conviction of sin, but to lift us up.
This is what Jesus meant when He wanted John to know and understand that" Blessed is he that is not offended in me."
Just last night as I visited with a brother, he shared with me of a happening years ago that has helped to see the truth of what we are speaking about. He said that when he was young he used to gather the egss out of the chicken house. Often times it was dark when he went in there and during that darkness rats would come into the chicken house to try to get the eggs for themselves. When my brother would come to gather the eggs, he would turn the light on and the rats would run for the darkness. And as he left each time, and put the light out, the rats would soon return to the chicken's nests. He told me that it has always reminded me of how Jesus has come into the world to speak to us about our sin, as the "Light" of the world. It makes all the difference in the world as to how a person reacts when the "Light" is turned on into our hearts and lives. Have we come to the Light?
That is amazing that Christ has come into the world to rescue us! We need to keep reminding ourselves of that, so that we will not fall victim to the devil's lies which tell us that God is either none existent or is a harsh taskmaster who requires us to pay or earn our way to Him and to heaven. God sent Jesus on a search and rescue mission, we have been rescued even as those who were rescued from their physical infirmities. God has rescued us from the guilt and condemnation of sin through the blood sacrifice of His Son on the cross. This is the sign that Simeon said would be spoken against, it is the sign that is being spoken against today and it is the sign that will be always spoken against by those who refuse to believe the Gospel.
Please let us remember that God has acted in the Gospel for us, and He wants us to receive this by repentance toward God (sorrow for sin, turning towards God and away from sin and self) and faith in Christ. Jesus has provided the blood covering for us and we have received that through repentance and faith.
Why would anyone not receive this covering for sin and in so doing, be offended in Christ?
That, it seems, is what Jesus wanted John to understand. John had spoken of Christ as the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world, but perhaps did not understand the connection of repentance and faith clearly as he languished in his prison cell. Our Lord pointed John back to the Scriptures so that He would be refreshed and encouraged in the knowledge of the forgiveness of his sins through the power of the Gospel. In so many words, Jesus preached the forgiveness of sins to His beloved forerunner who at this time so much needed have his head lifted up again to His Redeemer.
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

May we hear the words into our minds, hearts and souls today anew and afresh, even as John did. Our Lord today encourages us as a repentant sinner to believe the Gospel of forgiveness of sins, so that we would rejoice in this knowledge and experience which only comes through faith.
May this Word be blessed into our hearts today!
As we partake of His Body and Blood now, may we remember His death, rejoice in His Presence today and with joy go from here knowing that He is coming again to receive us for all eternity.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 16 Dec 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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