When the reality of earthly death hits home, and it appears as though your earthly departure is close, this tends to sober you, and forces you to face many of the skeletons and unresolved tensions in life. For John, the prospect of his execution caused him to seek comfort in the Word of God. He who appeared as a voice crying out in the wilderness to make way for the coming Lord, who stood in the waters of the river Jordan and pointed to Jesus, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God who take away the sin of the world needed comfort in the face of death.
We all do. Whether it is the simple fact that all of us will die, or the news of a deadly illness, our souls cry out for comfort in the midst of uncertainty. The devil is also hard at work, sowing seeds of doubt and distracting us from the Words of life.
Our Lord Jesus, in response to John’s question (Matthew 11) points us to the Word found in the pages of the Bible. In His ministry, Jesus fulfilled what the prophets said would be. Jesus, who is God in human flesh and blood goes about His work of taking away the sin of the world. Where sin is taken away, so the effects are also removed. The blind see in the light of the Gospel of hope and life. The lame and the ill are healed by the blood shed on the cross, so that earthly death is nothing less than the gate to life eternal. The deaf, those who do not trust the Word, receive the Holy Spirit, that they may both hear, and trust that Jesus is the Savior.
The poor – that is, all who stand before God with nothing but the broken promises of good intentions, wounded in our failure to love, hear the Word of peace preached in the absolution. For the sake of Jesus, sins are forgiven. Your Lord takes your brokenness, and in its place, He makes you whole. All these wonderful good news truth found in the preaching of God’s Word.
While the blessings of creation, such as the fruits of the harvest, a faithful family, and good governments are certainly favors from God, undeserved, yet given in love, the full blessing of our Lord is that He, in mercy covers our sin. This covering we received in Baptism, and by the grace of the Word made flesh, will last unto eternity.