Jesus and John the Baptist

18The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting,b or should we keep looking for someone else?”

20John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”

21At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. 22Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. 23And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.c’”

John the Baptist, as far as I can tell, was the third person in all the world to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, after Mary and Joseph. John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus. He baptized Jesus and argued with Jesus about it! John openly told his disciples Jesus was the Messiah and sent some of them to follow Jesus and become apostles.

So what the heck happened? Now John the Baptist, the greatest of all the prophets, is questioning who Jesus is.

Life happened.

John the Baptist is now in prison. He knows his end is near. At that time the Messiah was thought to surely be a conquering king who would return Israel to being the great leader of nations it had been under David. And that Messiah would surely rescue John the Baptist from death he had to know was closing in on him. Life had led John the Baptist to a place where he desperately needed the Messiah, Jesus, to be a conquering king.

Jesus did not appear to be the Messiah John needed. Is he the Messiah you think you need right now? Maybe not. You see, John didn’t realize who he really needed at that time, and we so often don’t realize who we need Jesus to be. We think we know what and who we need, but if we’re honest we have to admit we don’t really know what our lives are truly all about and we don’t know Jesus’ plans and dreams.

So Jesus answers John just as he answers us. “I AM WHO I AM.” It is up to us to lose our life and gain his life. When we do that, we leave the prisons of our own making and enjoy the freedom that is Jesus.

Holy Spirit, help me to see the real Jesus, accept the real Jesus, and die so that I might live with the real Jesus.

Thousands of little deaths…and freedoms await you. Hold my hand and travel on.  By the way, I see your smile and I know you see mine.


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