MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH AND THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART BE ALWAYS ACCEPTABLE IN THY SIGHT OH LORD MY STRENGH AND MY REDEEMER.
He Who Is Coming
"He sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come” St. Matthew xi. 2.
The Jews were waiting with eager expectation for the coming of the Messiah. In the letter to the Hebrews (10.37) it states “For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.” When talking about the Messiah the Jews would often use phrases like ’he who is coming’, ‘the one who was to come’ and ‘he that should come’.
John the Baptist is now sitting in prison for his public rebuke of Herod Antipas of Galilee. Herod had visited Rome and while there had an affair with his brother’s wife, brought her back to Galilee, got rid of his wife and married his brother’s wife. John was very outspoken about Herod’s goings on, and that got him free room and board in the jail. Since he can’t go see Jesus himself he sends his disciples to ask Jesus straight out if he is the one who is coming. We may wonder why John is asking this question. After all he had already baptized Jesus and witnessed the heavens open, the Spirit of God descend like a dove and light upon Jesus and a voice from heaven say “This is my son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” It is unlikely that John is asking because he is not sure if Jesus is the one who is coming. That leaves a couple of reason why John might send his disciples to ask the question; he might do it for the benefit of his disciples or because he is tired of waiting for Jesus to declare that he is the one who is coming.
If John’s disciples questioned John about whether Jesus was really he who was to come, and John’s answer was ’If you have doubts go ask him yourself’ it was a pretty good answer. If anyone begins to argue with us about Jesus, and to question his supremacy, the best way for us to respond is not to argue with that person but simply say: “Give your life to him; and see what he can do with it.’ Why, because the best argument for Christ is not an intellectual debate, but a personal experience of his changing power.
If John asked the question because he was impatient that would not be a surprise to those who knew John. He was not one to soften the truth and he was incapable of seeing evil and not speaking out about it and since Herod did not like what he said John had new place to call home, the jail. So John may have been thinking ‘When is Jesus going to start taking action? Or ‘When is the day of God’s holy destruction going to begin?’. It may well be that John was impatient with Jesus because he was not what he expected him to be. If John expected a Messiah who would bring ‘God’s holy destruction’ he was not seeing what he expected out of Jesus. Those who wait for savage wrath will always be disappointed in Jesus, but those who look for love will never find their hopes defeated.
Jesus response to the question was; go back and show John what I have done – the blind received their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. He did not argue with them he simply said look at what I have done and that will give you all the answer you need. Jesus may not have moved as fast as John wanted and he may not have been the type of Messiah the Jews were expecting but he had done many things that only he who was sent by God could do.
I am sure you have all heard the expression ‘some things never change’ and this is a good example of that. There are times when we want things to happen quicker than they seem to be happening. We most likely get anxious just like John did. There are times when what happens is not what we had wanted to have happen. Not that what happened was bad it was just different and since it did not meet our expectation we have difficulty dealing with what happened just like John was having trouble with what Jesus was doing. John expected ‘savage wrath’ from the Messiah and instead he got healings and love. Jesus teaches us how to deal with situations where the result although not bad does not meet our expectations by telling us to look at what has been done and the effect those actions have had. John could not argue that the blind seeing, the lame walking, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dead alive again and the poor having the gospel preached to them were bad things. He could not expect that anyone other than the one who was to come could have accomplished these things. When our expectations are not met we need to look at the changes in our life and what has been accomplished. Then we can assess what needs to be done next and get on with doing it. We need to accept that God has a plan and He is not going to tell us the whole plan, it will be revealed to us over time. In other words this life is a journey not a sprint race; it is a long winding road not a short track.
God does not leave us alone to navigate this life. We have the Holy Spirit with us every step of the way. The Holy Spirit is not going to do for us what needs to be done as doing is our job, his is to be with us and guide us. And when we have doubt, rather than turning away from Christ and thinking we can do it without him we need to turn to Christ both in prayer and through reading scripture. A life in Christ is not just an intellectual exercise; it is a personal experience of his power to change our lives.
And now unto God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost be ascribed all might, majesty, power and dominion as is most justly due this day; world without end. AMEN