Are we there yet?
Matthew 11:2-11

Are we there yet?  That’s the chorus that is sung by every kid in every car on every long journey, sometimes even just for fun to stir up the driver, but it is cried out incessantly.  It will be heard countless thousands of times across this nation and perhaps the world in the coming weeks.  We are an impatient generation.  We want everything instantly, when the car in front of us takes a millisecond longer than we expect to react to the traffic light that is now green we are poised to jam our hand on the horn button to get them moving.  We detest waiting in lines at fast food restaurants even to the point where some of us use the drive through because there’s now a timer on that to make sure we are served in under three minutes.  We are not good at waiting, we never have been and never will be probably.

Kids aren’t good at waiting for Christmas either are they?  Who’s ready for Christmas?  Have you bought all of your presents, hung your lights, put up your Christmas tree, sent all of your cards?  Have your kids been hassling you about how long it is til Christmas and what presents they want?  Now that school has finished the countdown begins in earnest doesn’t it.  Many of us are all prepared, but just as many probably aren’t, especially those who have been working hard to be able to afford the gifts to put under the tree.  I reckon having the children’s Christmas presentation today will rattle a few nerves too with the sudden realisation of how close it all is.

We all have our Christmas traditions don’t we, things that happen in a particular order that make it ‘feel’ like Christmas, that prepare us for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  We prepare the way for the celebration of his coming to be born as a child.  Some of us have had to vary those traditions dramatically in recent years.  We change locations, jobs, kids finish school earlier or later depending on what year level they are in.  We get older and the years go faster, we often aren’t ready to get there yet!

John the Baptist, was one who had been sent to prepare the way for the coming Messiah, the chosen one, the saviour for God’s people.  He had been patient, he had been preparing and he was ready, yet now that Jesus was on the scene and was proclaiming the Good News John still wasn’t sure that Jesus was ‘the one’.  How was he to know for sure?  Was he ready? This guy was his cousin wasn’t he?  I don’t know about you but if one of my cousins started to do miracles and talk about the kingdom of God I would be shocked and definitely wouldn’t believe it if they told me that they were the Messiah!

The time had come, it had begun in earnest, what the whole nation of Israel had been waiting centuries for was here, so it made sense than John wanted to be sure.  This was the beginning of a new era, they had been waiting for a king to free them from their oppressors, yet Jesus didn’t seem to be that kind of guy, he was all about healing people and caring for them, and preaching about God and all that, it would make sense that John was asking questions about what was going on.

As we just saw in the Children’s Christmas presentation things had happened in an unusual way throughout Jesus’ life.  If this truly was the Messiah that they had all been waiting for why was he born in a stable then wrapped in clothes and put in a feed stall.  Why was he born of a human being and then being brought up as the son of a carpenter?  That’s not very glorious, not very important or powerful, just plain old ordinary.  Was this really what God had promised, was this what the prophets of old had prophesied and who John had been preparing the way for?  Surely not?  I mentioned last week that John was perhaps an unlikely prophet, well Jesus was pretty much an unlikely Messiah too.

But as we discover on our journey through Advent to Christmas an on to Easter this Jesus really was the one they had been waiting for, he was doing things in his own way, turning the ways of the world on their head and doing things in his own time.  We are still waiting, waiting for his return, in the midst of our preparations to celebrate his coming as a child we are preparing for his return to take us away from this world and to be with him in heaven forever.  Are we there yet?  No not yet it would seem.

Most of us don’t feel ready for that yet anyway do we, we have lives to live, things to do, places to go.  Death comes too soon for most of us.  We fear it, yet it is something to look forward to.  That’s what we should really be waiting for and preparing for, it’s the ultimate goal of life.  But along the way there is work to do, to prepare the way for others to hear the Good News, to hear the Word of God calling through the Holy Spirit to them, encouraging them to ask questions too.  Is this the one, is this the Son of God, is this the one that I should believe in, is there life after death, is heaven real, is faith worth it?

Are we there yet?  It depends in what context you ask that question.  If you mean are we at Christmas yet, well not quite, a couple more weeks.  If you mean are we saved, yes, Jesus told us that whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.  If you mean is everyone saved, well we’re not there yet obviously there is work to be done.  If you mean is Christ with us, calling us through the Holy Spirit, guiding us, forgiving us and renewing us for the journey that goes on, yep we are there.

Join us as we take the journey together, hear the Good News, ask the tough questions of Jesus, and hear his answer, blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.