“Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” (Matthew 11:3)
It seems like a strange question for John the Baptist to ask. After all, John the Baptist was sent by God to proclaim Christ’s coming. Shouldn’t he already know who the Expected One is?
No doubt, in the core of his being, he did know Jesus was the promised Messiah. I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I’ve asked myself, “Is Jesus really who He says He is?” I think it’s likely John had one of those moments as he was sitting in prison.
Jesus’ response was beautiful. He didn’t give John the “oh you of little faith” lecture. He didn’t throw up His hands in exasperation. He didn’t fire John and recruit a new prophet. Jesus patiently responded, “Go and report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:4)
Jesus wasn’t just pointing to His miraculous works as evidence of His deity. He was reminding John of the Old Testament prophecies the Expected One would fulfill, prophecies Jesus was fulfilling.
First He referenced Isaiah 35:5. “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy...”
Then Jesus quoted a portion of Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;”
In fulfilling these, and many other Old Testament prophecies, Jesus proved Himself the one God had promised to send. But before John’s men left, Jesus had one final word. “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:6)
Jesus came to pay the final price for sin, to bring forgiveness to those who will repent, to give eternal life to the eternally lost. But He knew many would take offense at Him and His message.
For those who reject Him, Jesus is, as Isaiah 8:14 prophesied, “a rock to stumble over.” Or as Paul put it in Romans 9:33, “a rock of offense.”
For those who put their faith in the Expected One, however, Jesus is a rock of refuge, the rock of salvation, and the everlasting rock. How blessed we are if we can say with David, “O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge.” (Psalm 7:1)
Thank you for giving Your life to pay the penalty for my sin. Thank you for being the rock where I can always run for refuge from the cares, and hurts, and demands of daily life. I pray that those I know and love will not take offense at You, but will put their trust in You as well.