2nd week of Advent, Thursday – 12th December 2019 — Gospel: Mt 11,11-15
John pre-figured Elijah
Jesus presents John with his greatness and limitations. John’s importance is seen from the fact that his preaching of the kingdom marked the beginning of its coming in Jesus. Being more than a prophet, John no longer belongs to the old age of prophecy but to the new age of the kingdom. To emphasize John’s prophetic role, Matthew has changed the order of the Canon of the Old Testament (11,13). The constant order in Scripture is: the Law and the prophets. According to the rabbis the prophets’ chief function was to guard and interpret the law. Matthew, instead, subsumes Law under prophecy and has both prophesized up until the age begun by John. This unusual order emphasizes the prophetic function of the whole tradition. It prepares for and confirms John’s special role. In this way, John is “the prophet” who was to prepare God’s people before the coming of the Messiah and the final judgment and who performs Elijah’s prophetic role absolutely (Mal 4,5-6; Sir 48.1-10).