[Matthew 11:3] “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
This is more of a testimony than reflection on God’s word; however, I need to share a reflection of the above verse as well to throw light on the testimony. Let us first look at the verse quoted above. Before that let me remind you that John the Baptist proclaimed about Jesus to the crowds in [John 1:29-31] “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” But months later things were different, John now sends his disciples to Jesus with a question “Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?” How did a prophet of God who confirmed that Jesus was the Messiah, now be unsure of who Jesus was? What’s more strange is that Jesus did not reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to John’s disciples, instead he did something and told his disciples to go and tell John what you saw. Does this make sense to you?
If it doesn’t then let us understand a few things before looking at Jesus’ response. John’s so-called ministry seemed to have ended as he was put into prison. We don’t know how long he was in prison but experts say this could be anywhere between 6 months to 2 years max. Secondly, he hadn’t heard of any overthrow of government or kingship of Jerusalem, so things seemed to be quite the same with Jesus being in the picture. Thirdly, anyone who’s locked in the confines of a prison would know how they are prone to listening to their own thoughts, as there weren’t any people whom John could talk to. So John was probably listening to the negative thoughts going on in his mind and was overcome with doubt and unbelief. That is why he had to send for his disciples who were allowed to visit him occasionally to ask Jesus this question. Boy! that teaches us a lot. No matter how much you are filled with the knowledge of God’s word, when confined and restricted or outside of fellowship you had better not listen to negative thoughts that can mislead you into worrying about things. Instead continue to trust God’s word and keep believing it. So what did Jesus do? He did not say ‘Yes I am the one’ or ‘No, I am not the one’. Jesus knew John the Baptist very well and that John knew scriptures well. So instead he asked John’s disciples to see what he was about to do and report that to John. What did Jesus do? If you go to [Luke 7:21] which says “And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight”. In the same hour, Jesus did all of these things – He cured many of infirmities, affliction and evil spirits and gave sight to the blind. [Matthew 11:5] says “The blind see 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”. So all these things happened within the hour so that John’s disciples could report them to John. How would John get an answer to his question from this? Simple, Jesus was fulfilling scripture [Isaiah 35:5-6] “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.” So basically, Jesus was pointing John back to scripture and telling him to continue in faith based on God’s word. John knew scriptures well and so he would have got his answer through this response.
One evening as Sylvia and me and a few friends were visiting a hospital to pray for the sick. We entered a ward full mostly of accident victims. As we began praying from one end of the ward, we saw limbs, bones, backs being instantly healed. There was so much excitement in the ward that some of them were almost rushing towards us to pray for them. Some were even offering us money and we had to tell them that we were not here for money but just to do God’s work. Several people wanted to know about this God whom we were working for and talking about. We carried bibles and distributed to them that were interested. Lastly towards the other end of the wards, we reached a man who was paralyzed on one side (I think it was the left side). We came over to his bed and prayed for his healing, his leg moved a little. We could see that he was encouraged and was happy in the first place that we came. We did not see anything more than a small movement in his leg, but we believed that God had healed this man and conveyed that to him. What we didn’t notice was that next to the bed of this man, was another man who was dressed in saffron clothing (meaning a he belonged to a religious sect). Apparently, he was a distant relative of the paralyzed man and he had come from another city (about 6 hours away) to be with the patient. Suddenly there was a tap on my back. This man turned to us and spoke to me. He told me “From the time you guys entered this ward, I have been observing you all. I noticed people offering you money and you not accepting it. Now you come over to my relative’s bed and pray for him. I am truly touched by your concern to pray and more so by the fact that you talk about a God for whom you are doing this work”. I said, “Yes, Have you heard about Jesus?” He said, “I had a friend who believed in Jesus, but I know little about him”. Now I knew that this man was from out of the city so I had to seize the opportunity to tell him about Jesus, as this was what he wanted to know. There weren’t any chairs available to sit, so we sat on the floor and I told him about Jesus and shared the gospel. I told him this is our God whom we work for who has given us a command to love one another and not hate anyone. His eyes were full of tears he wanted Jesus in his life. He repented of his sinful life and accepted Jesus as his Savior at that very instant. To me this was the greatest healing that we got to witness that day. But it also reminded me of Jesus’ response to John’s disciples. If we say who we are, i.e. Jesus’ followers then we must show God’s love and power to all and fulfill scriptures ourselves. [Mark 16:15-18] “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well’.” Only then will the earth get to see what they are waiting to see. [Romans 8:19] ”For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Anyone who is a follower of Jesus is a son of God irrespective of their gender – the term son comes from who we have become – i.e. the body of Jesus and Jesus was the Son of God).