The Gospel reading for this Sunday has a special “treat” for conspiracy theorists and those who want to explore history beyond what your teacher taught. When the religious leaders sent priests and Levites to ask John the Baptist who he was and what could be expected of him, John replied by telling them that one among them would come and be greater than him.
Does this tell us something more, including what happened to Jesus between the Finding In The Temple and his baptism by John?
The reading in place of the Epistle is from the prophecy of Isaiah. In it, Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Christ. And with it, Isaiah teaches one of the main points which some people seem to miss: fulfillment.
Mercy and redemption are also important points, but first it must be established that promises will be fulfilled at the appointed time. And with that, we can begin to build our faith!
We see a number of people claiming to be Christians citing doctrine from the Old Testament as being the basis of their pronouncements. Can it really be? It seems that Luke 16:16 is one of the more ignored and/or forgotten passages of the New Testament. That verse does offer a definitive answer.
Comparing that verse with a table of contents in a Jewish Tanakh (the scripture Jesus would have known) is revealing!
Let’s look at The Last Gospel and see what it says about the beginning of all beginnings. The Last Gospel is the very end of Holy Communion services in many Catholic, Anglican and other Orthodox traditions. It specifically is John 1:1-14.
Note that it shows that there is more to Jesus than we know, and that his role begins long, long before his birth in Bethlehem. What we know is one small part of one small corner.
Time for eyes open! The Pharisees sent people to ask John The Baptist who he was. And, they asked him specifically certain names and titles. In all cases, he denied being Elijah, “that prophet” or anyone else they had in mind. Instead, he spoke about someone else coming, one among them whom they didn’t know.
We know from elsewhere in the Bible who John was, but he was wise in not admitting that for a good reason. He had a job to do, and he was not letting his own identity get in the way.
And this might give us an idea of what to watch for today!
CONTROVERSY ALERT! In this Epistle reading, St Paul hits the nail on the head, supported by a piece of Gospel scripture most folks probably don’t know. Why don’t they know? Because nobody had the nerve to tell them about it!
Paul tells the people that love is the fulfilling of The Law. Do that, and you’ll fulfill The Law without worrying about the nitpicking. Not only that, Luke 16:16 shows Jesus saying “The Law and The Prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it.”
CONTROVERSY ALERT! Hidden in plain sight is something that your Sunday school teacher might not want you to find. We hear of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, being twelve thousand of each of Israel’s twelve tribes. But there is more. There is also the great multitude “which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues….” which indicate a whole lot more being saved.
Could it be that mercy is actually merciful? Does it mean that even I stand a chance?