but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands. Matthew 17:12 NABRE
Jesus is speaking to a few of His disciples about Elijah the prophet. In popular belief and scribal teaching Elijah is expected to return in some sense in the last days and prepare the way for the Lord. Jesus agrees with the popular belief saying Elijah will indeed come and restore all things calling all people to repentance and repairing relationships destroyed by sin (see Malachi 3:23-24.) Jesus adds a “but I tell you,” saying Elijah has already come, in other words the scribes and many others of Israel are right to look for Elijah’s return but, unfortunately, they have missed his coming. The reappearance of Elijah has already taken place in the person and ministry of John the Baptist. Like Elijah, John is a great prophet who calls people to repentance and is preparing the way for the coming of the Lord, the Messiah, as Christians believe, Jesus. Jesus also indicates they did not recognize Elijah’s coming in the person of John the Baptist and cause him great suffering and martyrdom. Jesus says the Son of Man will suffer as well at the hands of the scribes and religious leaders.
The people looking for the signs, missed them and continue looking for Elijah, ignoring the claim the Messiah has come. Jesus also says those looking for the sign will be responsible for His suffering. We have to wonder what could have gone so wrong that the signs are missed. Perhaps the religious leaders took the message literally, the sign they seek is Elijah himself returning on his fiery chariot. Sometimes we look at something and not see it for what it is. For Christians the sign is fulfilled in John and Jesus.
What signs are you watching for? Have you missed signs in the past?The people looking for the signs, missed them and continue looking for Elijah, ignoring the claim the Messiah has come. We have to wonder what could have gone so wrong that the signs are missed. Click To Tweet
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