Ever since the beginning of creation – since the time of our first parents, Adam and Eve – God has promise that He would send a Savior (the Messiah) into the world who would redeem His creation from sin, death and the power of the devil through His own sacrificial death. The Law and the Prophets bore witness to the same plan and promise of God. His almighty and merciful kingdom would come and His perfect will be done!
This is exactly what we pray in the first, second and third petitions of the Lord’s Prayer… “Holy Be Your Name; Thy Kingdom Come; Thy Will Be done…” In these petitions we pray that we would reverently use His sinless, perfect name; that His kingdom rule would come into our hearts, minds and souls; and that we would do His will as completely and fully as it is done in His Heaven Kingdom above. Luther reminds us in the Small Catechism that His name is holy (set apart) in-and-of itself and that His kingdom and will are accomplished without any assistance on our part. As Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing…” (Matthew 11: 12) Ultimately, there is nothing that can stand in the way of His Kingdom coming or of Him accomplishing His holy and perfect will!
But there have always been (and always will continue to be) those who war against His kingdom – who “forcefully lay hold of it,” such as the Scribes, Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. There were many who stood against Jesus’ ministry, the coming of His Kingdom, and the proclamation of His life-giving Gospel.
Of these Jesus said, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’” (Matthew 11: 16-17) Jesus was saying that these petulant, rebellious children would never be satisfied. They wanted their own will to be done. They wanted everyone else to “dance to the tune they chose” rather than to the perfect and gracious plan of God. How true that was in that generation and at that time! How true that is in our generation and at our time!
So our Heavenly Father in His infinite mercy and love, sends His ambassadors throughout history to bring His people back to Himself. In today’s text, and at that time, it was John the Baptist. In the 1500 and 1600s, it was Martin Luther whom God used to call an errant church to repentance and reformation through the power of His almighty Word.
He continues to use that same almighty Word to call us to repentance and saving faith in the Messiah – the Sent One of God – Jesus, the Savior of the World! And He calls us to be His ambassadors of the Gospel in our time, to our world, to our generation.
“He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11: 15) May God give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts filled with compassion and the love of God as we work, and watch, and pray that His Kingdom would come and His will be done!
See you in church!
Blessings in Christ,