Matthew 11: 2-11
John was in prison when he heard what Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers to ask Jesus, “Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?”
Jesus answered, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn’t reject me because of what I do.”
As John’s followers were going away, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John:
“What sort of person did you go out into the desert to see? Was he like tall grass blown about by the wind? What kind of man did you go out to see? Was he someone dressed in fine clothes? People who dress like that live in the king’s palace. What did you really go out to see? Was he a prophet? He certainly was. I tell you that he was more than a prophet. In the Scriptures God says about him, “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to get things ready for you.” I tell you that no one ever born on this earth is greater than John the Baptist. But whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John”.
We are told, we know with the benefit of hindsight, that John is the last of the Old Testament prophets; the last one who will come wielding threats and calling down fire and brimstone from an Angry God.
But knowing that you seem to be following the path of many of the prophets; knowing that your life; your ministry; your chance of making a difference was about to end; wouldn’t you want reassurance? To be able to say to God as Simeon said ‘now your servant can go in peace’? Faith is a great thing but it does not belong in isolation – it needs relationship; it needs communication.
When John sends his message to Jesus – it is with a sense of helplessness and a need for the reassurance that Jesus truly is the one. That it has been worthwhile.
And the message in return is Jesus’ promise – yes, John, it is different; you have been a good and faithful servant; peace is with you; the Kingdom is here.