Wednesday, 3rd Week of Advent
The question of the messenger from John the Baptist is whether Jesus is the “Messenger of Yahweh” (Mal 3:1). In his reply Jesus draws attention to the deeds of mercy. In fact, according to Luke’s narrative, Jesus cured the sick and restored sight to the blind from these messengers of John (7:21) so that they may become witnesses to John of Jesus’ ministry of mercy.
In Luke 7: 22 we have references to the signs of the new age as promised by Isaiah: the blind would see (Is 35:5) and deaf hear (Is 35: 5), the lame walk (Is 35:6) and the dead would be raised up (Is 26:19). The cleansing of the leprosy patients refers to Jesus action in Luke 5: 12-16. Finally, it is all summed up that the good news is preached to the poor.
Jesus must have been aware of the fact that he was fulfilling the prophecies and expectations of Scripture but it does not seem to have mattered to him who was fulfilling them. When, according to the Gospels, John’s disciples ask him whether he is the one who is to come, he does not answer the question directly, he simply points out what is now happening: “The blind see again and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed…. and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor” (Luke 7: 22).
He does not say, “I give sight to the blind, I am proclaiming the Good News to the poor”. What matters is that the, people are liberated and saved. Who does it is irrelevant. Jesus believed that it is God the Father’s work and I am only a servant. This is absolute kenosis.
Jesus wanted his disciples to go out and do the same as he had done. It never occurred to him to stop anyone, even complete strangers, from participating in the works of liberation (Mk 9: 38-40). Jesus’ only concern was that the people be liberated. The only concern of the Good Samaritan was that the victim must be healed at the earliest; for that he takes the help of the innkeeper and even pays from his pocket. There is no ego in the Good Samaritan. The story teaches us that the leader provides healing space and invites the subordinates to utilize their gifts and capabilities to heal the wounds of humanity without making them as servants or slaves. They are partners. We are invited to learn the humility and self-emptying attitude of Jesus from this passage.