Advent 3 MW                                     December 15, 2021,                St. John, New Orleans, LA

Second opinions are often extremely helpful, 

even if they only confirm the first opinion. 

They give us confidence in our decisions, 

especially when these decisions have a cost associated with them.

But, sometimes, there are simply unnecessary

Because our situation and circumstances are quite obvious

And there really is only one solution to follow to the end.

In our Gospel lesson this past Sunday John the Baptist had second thoughts about Jesus being the Messiah,

He sent his disciples to Jesus asking if he was the one to come, or if John should look for another. 

And Jesus told John's disciples to report back to John 

about what they were seeing Jesus do and what they heard him say. 

Because these alone should convince him of what he already knew to be true

As a prophet of God, John should have known better. 

John should have been familiar with Zephaniah, our Old Testament reading for this evening as well as this past Sunday.

As well as the writings of all the other prophets

Because he was, after all, the last of God’s prophets to announce the coming Messiah.

As Zephaniah writes to the, “daughter of Zion,” he is writing to the future generations: Christ Church. 

And as we read tonight's text, we see a perfect description of him and what Jesus has done for us. 

“The Lord has taken away the judgment against you.” 

“You shall never again fear evil.” 

“The Lord is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.” 

it also tells us of the consolation that comes as a result of his great works. 

“He will quiet you with his love.” 

“I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach.” 

“I will change their shame into praise.”

Just like John, you and I don't need a second opinion. 

From genesis to Malachi, 

all the Old Testament, which is much longer than the New Testament, 

points to Jesus as the savior. 

Not only does it talk about him in general terms, 

but in places, with great detail 

as to even how Jesus will suffer and die for sinners. 

All so that, when he arrived in history, 

his saving deeds would be immediately recognizable, 

and so that subsequent generations like ours could know the fullness of his love and mercy.

It is that blessed assurance that gives us hope this evening. 

The many canticles and liturgical pieces we sing in the service of evening prayer were written during Old Testament times.

 even Mary's song, the Magnificat, is, technically, an Old Testament masterpiece. 

Because she sang it before Jesus was born, 

she was technically, still living in the Old Testament period. 

Even in the New Testament books, 

snippets of hymns recorded there predate Jesus 

and are formed by psalms and other passage of scripture that professed the savior. 

In other words, what we proclaim in the New Testament is nothing new at all. 

Rather, it is an affirmation of the old prophecy 

but with the difference that now we know the savior's name: Jesus.

May that ancient message of the Savior sent to free sinners, give you peace this season. 

May you be encouraged by its originality and everlasting truth. 

And may God's Holy Spirit give you the courage to share it with those you know. 

In Jesus name. Amen.