Archives December 2005

Sermon: Advent 3, Year B: John the Baptist

Sermon: Advent 3, Year B: John the Baptist

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I want us to look back at last week’s Scriptures, from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:1-8), which when placed alongside this week’s have much to say to us about the purpose and the history of the Baptiser

“I am sending my messenger to get the way ready for you. In the desert someone is shouting, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord! Make a straight path for him.’ ” is a quotation of Isaiah 40:3

Someone is shouting: “Clear a path in the desert! Make a straight road for the LORD our God. Fill in the valleys; flatten every hill and mountain. Level the rough and rugged ground. Then the glory of the LORD will appear for all to see. The LORD has promised this!”
Isaiah 40:3-5

It speaks of that still small voice, a prophetic voice that at times appears to be drowned out by the cares of the world, but still needs to be heard. It speaks of setting priorities, of making straight the road, flattening the rough ground and being focussed on the important things: the Advent of the Lord.

Mark’s Gospel, the earliest Gospel to be written about AD60 – around 30 years after Our Lord’s passion, and a Gospel written it is thought for the benefit of the Church in Rome, explaining as it does various Jewish customs and rituals. Tradition has it that Mark’s Gospel is based upon the testimony of St. Peter, and it certainly has the vividness and authenticity of a whirlwind account of those days. Mark wastes no time in his Gospel but introduces John the Baptist in the third verse, in the context of the last great Hebrew prophet, preaching and baptising.

Baptism itself was a practice not unknown to Jewish practice. Washing is both a practical and a symbolic preparation, and later Mark notes that;

Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands. The Pharisees and many other Jewish people obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way before eating. None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls. Mark 7:1-4

Modern Islam requires ritual washing in running water before Friday prayers, and in the Old Testament, there are incidences of symbolic washing such as the story of Naaman and Elisha:

Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”

But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the LORD his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me.

What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.”

His servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.”

Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.
(2 Kings 5:9-14)

Baptism, however, was being used in a distinctive way by John, so much so that it became his distinguishing feature and he became known as ‘the Baptiser’.

At the heart of John’s message was repentance: in Greek μετάνοια metanoia. Metanoia has more than just a spiritual connotation: it implies a physical reversal of direction, a change of life and an act both significant, permanent and dramatic. To move from one position, right round to the other. When faced down a cul-de-sac, you would have to metanoia to get out. This is now been layered with a spiritual dimension, and the reversal is no less clear: a life change, a dramatic turning from an old life and an embracing of a new one.

The baptism was therefore symbolic of not just a preparation for the next festival or event: a quick confession to tide you over the eucharist we are about to share, but an all-embracing acceptance of the will of God in our lives. When you take a biscuit, and dunk it in your tea, the biscuit is transformed, it suffuses with the tea and produces something new. John took the people who came to him in the Jordan and dunked them in the Jordan, and as a result, they too were transformed. It was a preparation, but a preparation for all time, a ritual washing in preparation for the baptism of and belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In verse 6, Mark writes John wore clothes made of camel’s hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey. In the Second Book of Kings 1:8, they refer to a wild and hairy prophet, the prophet Elijah whose return was to foretell the coming of the Messiah in Malachi 4:5. This is signified by the distinctive leather belt and hair shirt and them both calling out of the wilderness.

He eats locusts and wild honey. It is not clear whether this refers to the locust or carob bean or the actual insect, which is also a delicacy, but whichever, the significance is the same: he has no roots; he is returning to the scavenging, nomadic ways of the exodus, putting down no roots and planting no crops to survive on. He is totally dependent upon God for his sustenance, and he knows that dependence from the emptiness of his belly.

In our post-agrarian society, we miss this point, but to those who came to him, dependent upon their land and their possessions, it would be clear: a man who sought to return to basics in order to get in touch with God.

He said “Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals”. The person who carried your sandals was the lowest slave in your household, the one who would remove the sandals and wash the feet at the end of a journey.

Witness this:

4Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Jesus willingly took up the lowliest role in the household, becoming as St Paul wrote in the kenotic hymn we looked at a few weeks ago, almost like a slave (Philippians 2:5-11), and here John the Baptist says that he is not even worthy of this.

He went on to say “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. John was administering something for the here and now, and there now exists no one who was present in the Jordan who received the baptism of John. However, the baptism with the Holy Spirit continues to this present day; and I don’t just mean on the first Sunday of the Month with the actual service of Holy Baptism.

The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is working within us today. One of the tragedies has been that the power and dynamism of the spirit has been buried beneath layers of tradition and the need to remain inside our comfort zone. The desire to keep the “church family” as a comfortable and non-threatening institution has stifled the action of the greatest and most powerful thing on earth.

The Holy Spirit has the power to work within all of us: to enthuse, to inspire, to lead us in more dramatic and transformative ways than we can ever imaging. As Gabriel says to Our Lady at the annunciation, and which was the reading at the Immaculate Conception last Thursday, “With God, nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).

There are times when our lives appear full of challenge and controversy, when we just want to hide away and avoid reality. Why can that feel like it is overwhelming us? Because we havn’t given God a chance to deal with it.

If our grief remains a barrier to us living a complete life. If our anger causes damage to those who love around us, or prevents us from feeling God’s grace; if our dependency upon drink or other substances poisons not only our body but our soul also. We should use these as reasons for closing ourselves off from the power of the Holy Spirit. For nothing is impossible for God.

If you are trapped by something in your life, I want you, either as a part of this eucharist, as you come forward at the end of mass to receive communion, or later this week, whilst you are doing the dishes or writing your Christmas cards, to stop and remember those prophetic words of Gabriel from Luke 1:37: Nothing is Impossible for God. Let it be our watchword this week, let the power of that declaration infuse our lives.

May the power of the Holy Spirit which John predicted, which Christ instituted and which his holy church continues to proclaim fill you this week, may the knowledge of the Spirit surround you and penetrate your very being, and if you take away with you only one thing, it should be this:

37 For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37

Amen.


Sermon: Advent 2, Year B

Sermon – Advent 2 The Prophets

In the name of the +Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Prophecy – it’s an uncomfortable word for an uncomfortable act. Coming among a people a people and (often at great personal danger) standing up and telling them what God is really after. A Prophet is the mouthpiece of God on earth, but is seldom an interpreter: it comes out, and it is up to us to interpret these signs and see its portents.

Prophets do not always speak of doom and gloom, of destruction and annihilation (for that is a cynic not a prophet!), they sometimes speak of hope and the future promise.

In the Old Testament, there are 1,093 prophecies about the Messiah which were fulfilled by Jesus. Clearly, I don’t have enough time to go through all 1,093, for last week’s sermon was long enough as it was, but I just want us to look over some of the key predictions about the coming of the messiah from the mouths of the prophets, and for us to see that Yeshua of Nazareth really is the fulfilment of all those prophecies.

The psalms speak of 92 separate prophecies. In the book of Isaiah alone there are 121 separate prophecies.

Here they are:

Isaiah Prophecies OT Scripture NT Fulfillment
The Jews would reject the Messiah. Isaiah 6:9-10a John 12:37-40
The Messiah would teach in parables. Isaiah 6:9-10b Matthew 13:13-15
The Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14a Luke 1:34-35
The Messiah would be called Immanuel, “God With Us.” Isaiah 7:14b Matthew 1:21-23, John 12:45
The Messiah would be God. Isaiah 7:14c 1 Timothy 3:16
The Messiah would have wisdom from His childhood. Isaiah 7:15 Luke 2:40
The Messiah would be a “Stumbling Stone” for the Jews. Isaiah 8:14 Matthew 21:43-44
The Messiah would minister in Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2a Matthew 4:12-17
The Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles. Isaiah 9:1-2b Luke 2:28-32
The birth of the Messiah. Isaiah 9:6a Luke 2:11
The Messiah would be the Son of God. Isaiah 9:6b Luke 1:35
The Messiah would be both man and God. Isaiah 9:6c John 10:30
John 12:45
John 14:7
The Messiah would be from everlasting. Isaiah 9:6d Colossians 1:17
The Messiah would come from the lineage of Jesse. Isaiah 11:1a Luke 3:23-32
The Messiah would grow up in Nazareth. Isaiah 11:1b Matthew 2:21-23
The Messiah would have the Spirit of God upon Him. Isaiah 11:2a Matthew 3:16-17
The Messiah would have the Spirit of knowledge and wisdom. Isaiah 11:2b Matthew 13:54
The Messiah would have the Spirit of knowledge and fear of God. Isaiah 11:2c Matthew 11:27
John 15:10
The Messiah would have a quick understanding in the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:3a Luke 2:46-47
Luke 4:31-32
John 14:31
The Messiah would not judge on the basis of outward appearance. Isaiah 11:3b John 2:24-25
John 7:24
The Messiah would judge the poor with righteousness. Isaiah 11:4 Mark 12:41-44
Luke 13:30
The Messiah would come from the lineage of Jesse. Isaiah 11:10a Luke 3:23-32
The Messiah would come for all people. Isaiah 11:10b Acts 13:47-48
The Messiah would have the key of David. Isaiah 22:22 Revelation 3:7
The Messiah would defeat death (sin). Isaiah 25:8 Revelation 1:18
2 Timothy 1:10
Several Saints would rise to life at the resurrection of the Messiah. Isaiah 26:19 Matthew 27:52-53
The Messiah would be the cornerstone. Isaiah 28:16 1 Peter 2:4-6
The Messiah would heal the blind. Isaiah 35:5a Mark 10:51-52
John 9:1-7
The Messiah would heal the deaf. Isaiah 35:5b Mark 7:32-35
The Messiah would heal the lame. Isaiah 35:6a Matthew 12:10-13
John 5:5-9
The Messiah would heal the dumb. Isaiah 35:6b Matthew 9:32-33
Matthew 15:30
The forerunner (John The Baptist) of the Messiah would live in the wilderness. Isaiah 40:3a Matthew 3:1-4
The forerunner (John The Baptist) would prepare people for the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah 40:3b Matthew 3:11
Luke 1:17
John 1:29
John 3:28
The Messiah would be God. Isaiah 40:3c John 10:30
Philippians 2:5-7
The Messiah would be as a shepherd. Isaiah 40:11 John 10:11
Mark 9:36-37
The Messiah would be God’s messenger. Isaiah 42:1a John 4:34
John 5:30
The Messiah would have the Spirit of God upon Him. Isaiah 42:1b Matthew 3:16-17
The Messiah would please God. Isaiah 42:1c Matthew 3:16-17
The Messiah would not desire personal attention for Himself. Isaiah 42:2 Matthew 12:15-21
The Messiah would have compassion for the poor and needy. Isaiah 42:3 Matthew 11:4-5
Matthew 12:15-20
The Messiah would receive direction from God. Isaiah 42:6a John 5:19-20
John 14:10-11
The Messiah would be ministered to by God. Isaiah 42:6b John 8:29
Luke 22:42-43
The Messiah would be the “New Covenant”. Isaiah 42:6c Matthew 26:28
The Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles. Isaiah 42:6d John 8:12
The Messiah would heal the blind. Isaiah 42:7 Matthew 9:27-30
Matthew 21:14
The Messiah would be the “First and the Last”. Isaiah 44:6 Rev. 1:17-18
The Messiah would be from everlasting. Isaiah 48:16 John 17:24
The Messiah would come for all people. Isaiah 49:1a 1 Timothy 2:4-6
The Messiah would be called by God while in the womb. Isaiah 49:1b Matthew 1:20-21
The Messiah would be called by His name before he was born. Isaiah 49:1c Luke 1:30-31
The Messiah’s words would be as a sharp as a two-edged sword. Isaiah 49:2a Rev. 2:12-16
John 12:48
The Messiah would be protected by God. Isaiah 49:2b Matthew 2:13-15
The Messiah would be empowered for the judgment of mankind. Isaiah 49:2c John 5:22-29
The Messiah would be God’s servant. Isaiah 49:3a John 17:4
The Messiah’s life and death would glorify God. Isaiah 49:3b Matthew 15:30-31
The Messiah would be sorrowful because of the Jew’s unbelief. Isaiah 49:4 Luke 19:41-42
The Messiah would be God’s servant. Isaiah 49:5a John 6:38
John 8:29
The Messiah would come to bring Israel back to God. Isaiah 49:5b Matthew 15:24
Matthew 10:5-7
The Messiah would be God’s servant. Isaiah 49:6a John 1:49-50
The Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles. Isaiah 49:6b Acts 13:47-48
The Messiah would be despised. Isaiah 49:7 John 10:20
Matthew 27:22
The Palms of the Messiah would be a witness. Isaiah 49:16 John 20:25-28
The Messiah would speak with God given knowledge. Isaiah 50:4 John 12:49
Matthew 7:28-29
The Messiah would not be rebellious to God’s will. Isaiah 50:5 John 12:27
The Messiah’s back would be lashed (stripped). Isaiah 50:6a Matthew 27:26
The Messiah’s face would be beaten and spit upon. Isaiah 50:6b Matthew 26:67
The Messiah would not waver from His mission. Isaiah 50:7 Luke 9:51-53
The Messiah would be justified by His righteousness. Isaiah 50:8 1 Timothy 3:16
Hebrews 8:32-34
The Messiah would completely trust in God. Isaiah 50:8-10 John 11:7-10
The Messiah would proclaim the gospel from the mountain tops. Isaiah 52:7 Matthew 5:1-7:29
John 14:31
The Messiah would be God’s servant. Isaiah 52:13a John 9:4
John 14:31
The Messiah would be highly exalted by God. Isaiah 52:13b Philippians 2:9-11
The Messiah’s face would be disfigured from extreme beatings during His trial.
Isaiah 52:14 Mat. 26:67-68
Mat. 27:26-30
The Messiah’s blood would be shed to make atonement for all mankind. Isaiah 52:15 Revelation 1:5
The Messiah’s own people would reject Him. Isaiah 53:1 John 12:37-38
The Messiah would grow up in Nazareth. Isaiah 53:2a Matthew 2:21-23
The Messiah would appear as an ordinary man. Isaiah 53:2b Philippians 2:7-8
The Messiah would be despised. Isaiah 53:3a Luke 4:28-29
The Messiah would be rejected. Isaiah 53:3b Mat. 27:21-23
The Messiah would suffer great sorrow and grief. Isaiah 53:3c Luke 19:41-42
Mat. 26:37-38
Matthew 27:46
Men would deny association with the Messiah. Isaiah 53:3d Mark 14:50-52
Mat. 26:73-74
The Messiah bore our sorrows and sufferings Isaiah 53:4a Luke 6:17-19
Matthew 8:16-17
The Messiah would bear the sins of the world upon Himself.
Isaiah 53:4b 1 Peter 2:24
1 Peter 3:18
Many would think the Messiah to be cursed by God. Isaiah 53:4c Mat. 27:41-43
The Messiah would bear the penalty of death for man’s sins. Isaiah 53:5a Luke 23:33
Hebrews 9:28
The Messiah’s would be bruised for our iniquities.
Isaiah 53:5b Colossians 1:20
Eph. 2:13-18
The Messiah’s back would be lashed at His trial. Isaiah 53:5c Matthew 27:26
1 Peter 2:24
The Messiah would be the sin-bearer for all mankind. Isaiah 53:6 Galatians 1:4
The Messiah would be oppressed and afflicted. Isaiah 53:7a Mat. 27:27-31
The Messiah would be silent as a lamb before His accusers. Isaiah 53:7b Mat. 27:12-14
The Messiah would be God’s sacrificial lamb. Isaiah 53:7c John 1:29
John 19:14-18
The Messiah would be condemned and persecuted. Isaiah 53:8a Mat. 26:47-27:31
The Messiah would be judged. Isaiah 53:8b John 18:13-22
Mat. 26:57-66
Matthew 27:1
Matthew 27:22
Luke 23:11
The Messiah would be killed. Isaiah 53:8c Matthew 27:35
The Messiah would die for the sins of the world. Isaiah 53:8d 1 John 2:2
The Messiah would be buried in a borrowed rich man’s tomb. Isaiah 53:9a Matthew 27:57
The Messiah would be completely innocent. Isaiah 53:9b Mark 15:3
The Messiah would have no deceit guile in His mouth. Isaiah 53:9c John 18:38
Luke 23:33-34
1 Peter 2:21-22
God’s will would be that the Messiah should die for all mankind. Isaiah 53:10a John 18:11
Romans 3:23-26
The Messiah would be a sin offering. Isaiah 53:10b Matthew 20:28
Ephesians 5:2
The Messiah would be resurrected and live forever. Isaiah 53:10c Mark 16:16
Rev. 1:17-18
The Messiah would prosper. Isaiah 53:10d John 17:1-5
Revelation 5:12
God would be completely satisfied with the suffering of the Messiah. Isaiah 53:11a John 12:27
Matthew 27:46
The Messiah would be God’s servant. Isaiah 53:11b Romans 5:18-19
The Messiah would justify man before God. Isaiah 53:11c Romans 5:8-9
The Messiah would be the sin offering for all mankind. Isaiah 53:11d Hebrews 9:28
The Messiah would be exalted by God for his sacrifice. Isaiah 53:12a Matthew 28:18
The Messiah would freely lay down His life to save mankind. Isaiah 53:12b Luke 23:46
The Messiah would be counted with the criminals. Isaiah 53:12c Luke 23:32
The Messiah would be the sin offering for all mankind. Isaiah 53:12d 2 Cor. 5:21
The Messiah would intercede for man to God. Isaiah 53:12e Luke 23:34
The Messiah would be resurrected by God. Isaiah 55:3 Acts 10:40-41
Acts 13:34
The Messiah would be a witness. Isaiah 55:4 John 3:10-12
John 18:37
The Messiah would come to provide salvation for all mankind. Isaiah 59:15-16a John 6:40
1 Thes. 5:8-10
The Messiah would intercede between God and man. Isaiah 59:15-16b Mat. 10:32-33
Romans 8:34
The Messiah would come to Zion as their Redeemer. Isaiah 59:20 Luke 2:38
John 10:11
The Messiah would have the Spirit of God upon Him. Isaiah 61:1 Matthew 3:16-17
The Messiah would preach the gospel of “Good News”. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-21
The Messiah would come to provide salvation. Isaiah 63:5 John 3:17
Col. 2:13-15
The Messiah would be revealed to a people who were not seeking Him. Isaiah 65:1 Mat. 15:22-28
Romans 10:18-20
The Messiah would be rejected by His own (Jews). Isaiah 65:2 John 5:37-40

Impressive eh?

Well, let’s focus on some key ones:
The Messiah would be born of a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:34-35
34 How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin?
35 The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
The Messiah would heal the blind, lame, deaf, and speechless

Isaiah 35:5-6
5Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
Mark 10:51-52

51 What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asked him. The blind man said, Rabbi, I want to see.
52 Go, said Jesus, your faith has healed you. Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

John 9:1-7
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
2 His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no-one can work.
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6 Having said this, he spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.
7 Go, he told him, wash in the Pool of Siloam (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Mark 7:32-35
32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man.
33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spat and touched the man’s tongue.
34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, Ephphatha! (which means, Be opened!).
35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Matthew 12:10-13
10 a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
11 He said to them, If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
13 Then he said to the man, Stretch out your hand. So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

John 5:5-9
5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, Do you want to get well?
7 Sir, the invalid replied, I have no-one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.
8 Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.
9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

Matthew 9:32-33
32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.
33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel

Matthew 15:30

30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.

…need I go on?

He would be wounded for our sins, cursed, bearing our transgressions
Isaiah 53:4-5
4Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
1 Peter 2:24
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
Matthew 27:41-43
41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.
42 He saved others, they said, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’
Luke 23:33
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals— one on his right, the other on his left.

Ah yes, you might be thinking: anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the Scriptures, and Jesus clearly had internalised the prophets and their prophecies, could engineer it so that these scriptures would be fulfilled. Knowing that the Messiah would ride in to Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”), isn’t it obvious that he would sort that one out?

But, how many prophecies were things over which Jesus himself had no control?

His place of birth, his fleeing to Egypt, his arrest, his crucifixion, his death without a single bone being broken – all of these prophesied about and out of the hands of Jesus or his followers – in the hands of evil men, or in the providence of God almighty.

The Messiah would be killed.
Isaiah 53:8

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

Matthew 27:35

35When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots

And think back to the gifts the wise men bring, the Gold, signifying royalty, the Incense, signifying divinity, and the Myrrh, signifying his death: we should not shy away from the cross even at Christmas, for the incarnation is nothing without the crucifixion, and the crucifixion is nothing without the resurrection.

The scriptures are deep pools of knowledge which you should be trawling this Advent, look through the prophecies, which will be listed on the website this week: http://www.saintthomaselson.org.uk/

Spend some time examining what the prophets of old said would happen and how Scripture tells us played out in the story of Jesus, Yesh-ua, God Saves.

What has happened, what is happening, what is to happen in the future has all been seen, fortold and spoken about. Go back to your bibles and drink deeply in them.

Amen.