When John the precursor asks the question of Jesus – are you the long-anticipated Messiah – or are we to wait for someone else? – he taps into the long tradition of the prophets and holy people of Israel who had longed for a new David to set them free from all of their oppressors – but with an emphasis on their political and economic freedom. Yet Jesus is content to point to the reality of his ministry which he knows is fulfilling a very significant strand of prophecy, such as we read in Isaiah 35 – our first reading today. Even if this is not the kind of fulfillment that John, perhaps representing the Essene tradition was looking for, this was enough to present the truth of the claim that Jesus was making.
During these days of Advent, as we ponder the bedrock fundamentals of our experience as humans encountering the divine, we arrive on this third Sunday (also called Gaudete Sunday, when rose-coloured vestments are worn) in this series considering the four transcendentals: that all being is one, good, true and beautiful. So this week we are pondering what it means for something to be true, how we work it out, how God speaks to us and challenges us in this, and how to go deeper and further then a simple black-and-white understanding of truth.
Recorded at St Paul’s, 10am (14mins)
Advent Sunday 3, Year A. Isaiah 35:1-10; Matthew 11:2-11