December 11, 2016

Sermon Message by Rev. Dr. Parrish L. Bridges

Asking the Right Question

Bible Texts: Isaiah 7:10 - 16 and Matthew 1:18-25

Sermon Message overview . . .

We often refer to Advent as a season of waiting, but I’m beginning to rethink that maybe it’s a season of impatience more than anything. It seems that we experience some anxiety and some hurry and worry as we try to cram so much into four weeks of busyness. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas should have all of us asking some questions, or the right question.

When John the Baptist was in prison, he waited, wondered, and doubted about the future. This is a far different John than we heard about last week. Gone is the fiery preaching and calling people to repentance. No longer do we see him with a full measure of confidence and certainty that Jesus is the Messiah and that we need to do everything we can to prepare the way of the Lord. Instead of a voice crying in the wilderness, we now see John as a tired, discouraged, and doubting person with questions.

This is the John that we can relate to because we have our own doubts and we know what it means to wonder. He was so sure of himself and what he was preaching that we would have never guessed that he would be filled with doubt. But, when life got hard for him, real hard (like being thrown into prison) he began to wonder if this Jesus is really the Messiah he was looking for.

What happens to us when our expectations are not met like we wanted them to be met or how we thought things would happen? What happens when God comes in a way that we did not expect? What happens when things don’t quite turn out the way we had planned?

At least John had sense enough to ask the right question: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And one of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life is the ability to find reconciliation, peace, and love if we have eyes to see beyond our expectations. For John, it all started by asking the right question. When we have questions about God’s way of doing things, the answer will always involve removing any doubt that may be keeping us from seeing what God is actually doing.