When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
We can imagine John in prison looking at the works of Jesus and wondering – was it all worth it.
Jesus responds in the following two verses with a summary of his ministry: “the blind receive their sight (cf. Mt 9:27-31), the lame walk (cf. Mt 9:1-8), the lepers are cleansed (cf. Mt. 8:1-4), the deaf hear (maybe Mt. 4:23 & 9:35), the dead are raised (cf. Mt. 9:18-26), and the poor have good news brought to them (cf. Mt. 5:3).”
Though not a straight yes or no, this response would have given John much to consider. It would be hard for anyone to deny that God was powerfully at work in Jesus. But there is a second, more profound layer in Jesus’ response to John.
Among the events foreseen are the dead coming to life (Isa 26:19), the blind and deaf seeing and hearing again (Isa 29:18; 35:5; 42:18), the lame leaping for joy (Isa 35:6), and the poor hearing the glad tidings of the Lord delivered by his anointed one (Isa 61:1).
John would have been familiar with these prophecies, and it would have been reassuring for him to understand that everything was proceeding according to God’s plan, as foretold in Scripture.
Jesus only had good words for the poor. What good news can we bring? And when things are not going to plan, can we intervene and help make things right again? Can we hear what he wants to say to us today?