Bubba was bragging to his boss one day, “You know, I know everyone there is to know. Just name someone, anyone, and I know them.”
Tired of his boasting, his boss called his bluff, “OK, Bubba how about Tom Cruise?”
“Sure, yes, Tom and I are old friends, and I can prove it.” So Bubba and his boss fly out to Hollywood and knock on Tom Cruise's door, and sure enough, Tom Cruise, shouts, “Bubba! Great to see you! You and your friend come right in and join me for lunch!”
Although impressed, Bubba's boss is still skeptical. After they leave Cruise's house, he tells Bubba that he thinks Bubba's knowing Cruise was just lucky.
“No, no, just name anyone else,” Bubba says.
“President Elect Trump,” his boss quickly retorts.
“Yes,” Bubba says, “I know him, let's fly out to New York.” And off they go. At the Trump’s Hotel, the President elect spots Bubba at the lobby and motions him and his boss over, saying, “Bubba, what a surprise, I was just on my way to a meeting, but you and your friend come on in and let's have a cup of coffee first and catch up.”
Well, the boss is very shaken by now, but still not totally convinced. After they leave the White House grounds, he expresses his doubts to Bubba, who again implores him to name anyone else.
“The Pope,” his boss replies. “Sure!” says Bubba. “My folks are from Argentina, and I've known the Pope a long time.” Off they fly to Rome. Bubba and his boss are assembled with the masses in Vatican Square when Bubba says, “This will never work. I can't catch the Pope's eye among all these people. Tell you what, I know all the guards so let me just go upstairs and I'll come out on the balcony with the Pope.”
Bubba disappears into the crowd headed toward the Vatican. Sure enough, half an hour later Bubba emerges with the Pope on the balcony. By the time Bubba returns, he finds that his boss has had a heart attack and is surrounded by paramedics. Working his way to his boss' side, Bubba asks him, “What happened?”
His boss looks up and says, “I was doing fine until you and the Pope came out on the balcony and the man next to me said, “Who's that on the balcony with Bubba?”
John the Baptist is a chosen messenger for the Messiah. He jumps with joy in his mother’s womb when Jesus’ mother comes to visit, his mother Elizabeth. He is the herald preaching and calling people to prepare the way for the Messiah. He preaches with strong conviction. He calls people “to repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He is not afraid to speak truthfully to religious leaders and royalties. He demands that people must produce good fruits as evidence of their repentance to make ways for the Messiah. He talks highly of the Messiah: “The Messiah is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. He must become more important while I become less important” (Jn 3:30).
So what has happened to John the Baptist. He seems to lose his confidence about Jesus, the Messiah. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” John the Baptist knows Jesus as the Messiah; but now he is in doubt about whether Jesus is truly the Messiah.
Have you ever been in doubt or have second thought about someone? Do we have any couple in the congregation who are dating or engaging? (Look for a couple).
You are dating each other. You are engaging to your fiancé. You might feel just right for each other. You just feel matched. You belong to each other. You have no doubt that you love each other. You believe in each other, and you trust each other. You cannot imagine not being together.
Now I want to ask those of you who have been married for a long time. Have you always felt that love? Sometime you might wonder about each other’s behaviours and you might have doubt about your love for each other. Sometime you might even want to strangle each other. Right? How do you overcome the doubt?
What John the Baptist preached about Jesus, the awaited Messiah is true. But what he sees and hears about the Messiah is not what he expected. John speaks the truth with courage because he believes that the Messiah is on his side. He has the right message. He is risking his life for the sake of the Kingdom and for the coming of the Messiah. He is a hero on the right mission. He is acting as an activist pushing for the Messiah’s agenda. Activist is a person who believes strongly in political or social change and work hard to try and make this happen. He is outspoken; so outspoken that he is not afraid to speak the truth against the king’s romantic relationship. Speaking strongly against King Herod’s action brings him to his imprisonment. In prison, John has been waiting for big thing to happen. If the Messiah does not take any action to free him soon, he would be dead. He however, is hearing stories about the peaceful behaviour of Christ which do not fit his own expectations of a stern, strong and powerful Messiah. There is no sign that the Messiah is going to do some extraordinary things to turn the world around. The Messiah is not acting the way he expects. Herod is still in power. Injustice and sins are still everywhere. So he begins to have doubts. He sends disciples to check Jesus out.
Jesus tells John’s messengers: Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the Good News preached to them. These are the signs to recognize Christ as the Messiah. The Messiah is a Healer. Jesus does not bring threat and inflictions on people; he is the healer who bring healing and comfort to the people. His healing sign is not condemnation but salvation, not cutting down the trees but patiently waiting for the fruits. Yes, Jesus wants to change the world, but not with weapons and mighty military power. He is not pushing and forcing for change. He wants people to freely choosing to change. His approach for change is to use love, compassion, forgiveness and healings. He comes to heal the sinful world.
A group of students approached their spiritual leader with a complaint about the prevalence of evil in the world. Intent upon driving out the forces of darkness, they requested their teacher to counsel them.
The teacher suggested that they take brooms and attempt to sweep the darkness from a cellar.
They applied themselves to sweeping out darkness, but to no avail.
The teacher then advised them to take sticks and to beat vigorously at the darkness to drive out the evil.
When this likewise failed, he counseled them to go down again into the cellar and to protest against the darkness by shouting at it.
When this, too, failed, he said, “My children, let each of you meet the challenge of darkness by lighting a candle.”
The students descended to the cellar and kindled their lights. They looked, and behold! The darkness had been driven out.
Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life , and the poor have the Good News preached to them.