Third Wednesday of Advent – Luke 7:20-23


When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’”

Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”



The hope of the people of Israel was that a king sent from God would rise up and set them free from their oppressors. When John’ disciples ask Jesus if he is the “one who is to come,” they are asking if he is the king they’ve all been waiting for. 


The king they longed for would be one that overthrew the evil powers with military might and, in turn, ruled over their oppressors. Jesus’ answer is most definitely not the answer they’re looking for: he tells them about the peace, joy, and life that he has created by healing the sick and giving good news to the poor.


He’s saying, “yes, I’m the one to come, but I’m not what you thought I would be.” 


We would be hard pressed to find many people in the U.S. who long for a king to rule over them. In a democratic society such as ours where we pride ourselves on our unalienable rights, the idea of a person with ultimate authority over us isn’t all that popular. 


The Gospel message tells us that we will be ruled by something, whether we like it or not. For some of us, it’s the job that we can never really clock out of. For others, it’s our desire to remain beautiful and young forever, or the need to sustain an image of success to our peers and neighbors even though we feel lost or empty on the inside. 


The message for us today is that the freedom that we worship and protect at all costs can easily become the very authoritarian ruler we are trying to avoid. 


In today’s reading, Jesus does not disguise his authority. He claims to be the king who will set us free, but he does this by pointing our attention to the kinds of things that he will do as king: open our eyes, heal our sickness, and give us new life. 


The Advent message of joy invites us to take a step toward recognizing the reality that there is something we serve. We have the freedom to choose what that is. We are invited into the joyful life of relationship with a truly good ruler. 


  • What are the qualities of a good leader or ruler?


  • What are some things that have authority in your life?


  • What is true freedom, and what is one thing you can do to step into that today?