No…who are you REALLY?
The Gospel this weekend (Matthew 3:1-12) begins with these words we hear from an imprisoned John the Baptist:
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Wait….what? This is John. the. Baptist. The “…voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord…”! The guy who baptized Jesus! Why then, is he asking Jesus if he really is who he says he is? If anyone should know, wouldn’t we think it would be John the Baptist?
The Gospel continues with Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s question:
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
After taking a minute to soak this in and reflect, we come to the realization that, as he is so often documented in scripture, Jesus doesn’t exactly give a direct answer. Rather, he lists several miracles and works of his earthly ministry as if to lovingly remind John the Baptist of who he is.
Witnessing John the Baptist experience this struggle of doubt and perhaps even desolation is almost disappointing at first: “So….you mean…he’s human?!” Yes. And as important of a human as he was, he still faced times of doubt and crisis of faith. He needed to be reminded that THIS was God. This story is such an incredible gift, a source of encouragement for those times we ourselves face uncertainty or struggle in our journey of faith. During these times of desolation, we know that we can turn to our God and ask him to reveal himself to us with the assurance that He continues to love us and pour out his mercy over us even though we may have fallen away for a time or have doubted who he is.
Jesus’ account of his ministry also serves as an example for evangelization. You can probably think of someone as you’re reading this right now who may be experiencing doubt or questioning who Jesus is, who just might be moved by your personal witness or stories of miracles and transformations God has worked in your own life. Pray and be open, especially during this season of Advent as we prepare for the coming of our Savior, to opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, so that they may truly know who he is!