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Matthew 17:10-13

The Word of God

And the disciples asked Jesus, "Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He replied, "Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist. 

Matthew 17:10-13
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus was very careful about allowing his divine power to appear; he wanted faith in him to be based on his inherent authority, not indiscriminate miracle-working. Our lives remain ordinary, but the supernatural mystery is real.
    • John the Baptist met the cross in his life. So did Jesus. So must we. ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24).
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The Jewish faith looked forward to the ‘last days’ or End Time when the Lord would come in glory and finally wrap up the affairs of this world. And a conviction had arisen that the approach of the End Time would be signalled by a forerunner - the figure of the larger than life prophet Elijah would make a renewed appearance.
    • Since shortly before this scene Jesus’ disciples had a vision of Jesus transfigured in glory and flanked by Moses and Elijah, obviously the latter was still on their minds. So they ask Jesus for confirmation regarding the role of Elijah as forerunner of the End Time.
    • Jesus’ reply was unexpected in more ways than one - the real forerunner is John the Baptist - he has been badly treated - and this will also be the fate of Jesus himself.
    • The coming of Jesus was meant to bring about the kingdom of God on earth with the offer of salvation for all; but the people struck out against the bearer of the message.
    • By our prayer this Christmas, we ourselves can ensure that the newly born Jesus is welcome in our lives - even if his message turns some of our values on their head.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The context to this question is the Transfiguration, which the inner circle of disciples witnessed. Elijah, suffered in his day, and now Jesus, is clearly indicating to them, that to follow him, implies suffering with him.
    • Lord, as I continue this Advent journey, help me to become aware of the challenges for me in following you. Your way of life challenges me. From the very moment of your birth. The crib scene of Christmas makes sense only in the light of the Cross.
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    • The disciples are bewildered. They believe that Elijah must return before the reign of God comes about. Jesus tries to move them on by telling them that the work of Elijah has already been done by John the Baptist. God moves at a pace that is different from ours. Do I also get stuck and miss the God of Surprises?
    • Can I distinguish good people from imposters? Do I have a mind that is open to the truth, even if it comes from an unexpected source? Or am I caught up in ‘party politics’ so that I cannot see any good in the other side?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus tells his disciples that Elijah has already come in the person of John the Baptist who had ‘the spirit and power of Elijah’ (Luke 1:17). Am I still waiting for a Messiah who has already come? Am I being left behind?
    • What is preventing me from living as if my Redeemer has already come? Nietzsche remarked that Jesus’ disciples should look a little more redeemed!
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    • Jesus often uses the title ‘Son of Man’ of himself. The title gathers together his passion and his return in glory. All human beings experience suffering and death, as he did. But because of him, we will then experience the glory of resurrection. I thank Jesus for achieving this for us.
    • Like Elijah, John was austere, lived in the desert, and was a fearless prophet. Jesus admired him. John admired Jesus too, and referred to himself as the friend of the bridegroom. I too am a friend of the bridegroom, Jesus, and I rejoice in that.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The disciples brought their questions to Jesus, to hear what he might have to say. I bring the things that make me wonder, that raise questions for me and I lay them before Jesus in prayer. I listen carefully for his word.
    • Neither John the Baptist nor Jesus was always recognised. I pray for the humility I need to act as Jesus did.