Matthew 11:2-11 NRSVue
2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with a skin disease are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What, then, did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What, then, did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
11“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist, yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
"Go and tell what you hear and see: ... the blind receive their sight ..."! What do I see and hear? Do I see the signs of God's kingdom breaking through in the world around me? What does it look like?
If I don't see any positive signs, why not? Do I need to look again, or look differently? Am I somehow looking for 'soft robes and royal palaces' when God is offering me a prophet?
When he says that the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John, is he including me?
There is real comfort in this story. John the Baptist, the powerful, austere man who held such a sway among the Jews, still had his moments of darkness. Imprisoned in Herod’s dungeon, he wondered: /Am I a fool? Is this all there is? Was I wrong about Jesus?/ He does not just brood on the question. He sends messengers to Jesus. And Jesus does not send back reassurances; he just asks the messengers to open their eyes and see the evidence of Jesus’ life.
Lord, in my moments of doubt and darkness, may I fill my eyes with you.
Great as John was, we see that he did not live with pure certainty. He followed in faith even as he allowed good questions to be asked. I pray that I may ask the right questions and, like John the Baptist, always direct them to Jesus.