July 16, 2008

Promises in the Dark

Matthew 11:1-6

“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Matthew 11:3


Times of intense waiting often take place at night. A mother stays awake, hoping to hear the sound of her teenage son or daughter coming home. Waiting to hear the results of tests from a doctor's office seems to intensify during the long, quiet hours of the night. When the world around us falls silent, we especially hear voices of doubt and fear murmuring inside us. Maybe this is what John the Baptist was experiencing in prison. In the dark stillness of his prison cell, he waited for his disciples to return with answers to his questions. In effect, he was asking, “Lord, if you real-ly are the promised Messiah, why am I languishing here in prison? Where is the powerful kingdom that I believed you would bring?” In a way, we all wait for Jesus to answer these questions because we too live in a kingdom that is coming but is not yet here completely. Jesus assured John, as he assures us today, that there is enough evidence of his work in the world to confirm his identity. The beginnings of his ministry guarantee the kingdom's full arrival later on. So if we are waiting and listening for the Lord and beginning to grow disappointed, let's take heart: God has whispered the coming of a kingdom that will one day arrive with an unmistakable shout.

Lord, sometimes it's hard to believe your kingdom has come when we go through difficult times. Help us to trust in you and to help -others hear the good news of Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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