“Are you the one?”

adventI have a need to know,

to understand how and why,

to figure out how things work,

to comprehend the ins and outs of people’s thinking,

including my own.

I love the light-bulb moment when all is illuminated,

when things make sense,

when I can see how we got from there to here.

And so I sympathize with John the Baptist (in Matthew 11) when his understanding of who the Messiah was,

his recognition of just how the Messiah would turn the world upside down,

hit the wall and shattered into a million pieces.

His Messiah was going to change the world, but his view of how this would happen was limited by time and place.

His Messiah would get rid of the Romans and put the Jews back in their rightful place as God’s chosen people.

But here he was facing death in Herod’s prison for speaking the truth.

It never occurred to him that his expectations were the problem,

that his understanding was too small,

that he had put the Messiah in a box that he had wrapped in fine linen and ribbons.

So, he asked, “Are you the one?”

Jesus said, “Go back and take another look at the prophecies… I fulfill them all–just not in the way you dreamed that I would.”

“My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

In my advent waiting, my coming into being,

do I recognize Jesus when I see him?

Am I unsure who he is because I have him in a box

wrapped in fine paper and ribbons,

limited by my expectations and understanding?

My finite mind can only hold tiny glimpses of our


infinite God,

the great I am.

So, when my eyesight is fuzzy,

my expectations limited,

and my light bulb moment is dim or burnt out

and I ask, “Are you the one?”

Tell me, “I am,”

and I will fall on my face in worship.

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