News of these two wonderful miracles reach John the Baptist, who is apparently locked away in some nasty, first-century prison cell. He’s been telling anyone who will listen about the coming Messiah. While he might have supposed that Jesus is the Messiah, he is not yet certain of it. So, he sends two of his followers to Jesus with this question: Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another? (v. 20).
This has to be a tough question to ask. But John wants to know if his work has finally born fruit in the person of Jesus. John has denied himself, lived a spartan life in the desert, and endured ridicule and imprisonment. Now his own life hangs in the balance. “Jesus, are you the one?” While we don’t know exactly what is going on in John’s mind, we can assume that Jesus wasn’t exactly the kind of Messiah that John expected. He may have hoped for someone different, someone more like the other rulers of other kingdoms.
So when they ask Jesus this question, he doesn’t answer it directly. Instead, he points to the evidence. The blind see. The lame walk. Lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear. The dead are raised. The poor have heard the good news. In other words, he is asking, “What do you think, John?”
Jesus ends his response by saying, “blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me” (v. 23).
All that was promised has come to pass. It just looks a bit different from what John has expected. That is just the way it is with Jesus. He doesn’t always look or act as we may think he would or should.
When do you cast Jesus in an image that fits your agenda and forgets his?
God, forgive us for wanting Jesus to conform to our will, and help us change to become all that he calls us to be. Amen.