Sunday, May 29, 2011

Matthew 11:1-6


1 When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, ``Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?'' 4 Jesus answered and said to them, ``Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT 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. 6 ``And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.''

What is going on here? John has already pronounced Jesus as Messiah, so why the question through his disciples here? He was well aware that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:29; Luke 3:22) and had heard from prison the things Jesus was doing among the people-miracle after miracle that could only come from God, even raising the dead back to life!

There are three thoughts for your consideration: John must have been terribly disappointed with Jesus. Jesus didn't fit the mold of what John was expecting entirely. Some were saying that Jesus had a demon (Matthew 12:24; John 8:48). Others reported that Jesus was a drunkard and glutton (Matthew 11:19). Still others said that He was crazy (Mark 3:21, 31-35). We always try to fit Jesus into a mold-our mold. It doesn't matter whether God is fulfilling what He claims to be and to do, we still have our images and caricatures. Every time I think I have God figured out, He surprises me BIG TIME. It's not that He acts out of character, but that He is the God of gods and supersedes most every expectation I can muster!

John was also confused by Jesus' message. It was not quite the same approach as John. John's message was filled with truth and destruction. Jesus' message was filled with truth and love. He was filled with grace and truth. This was a powerful difference!

NOTE that John is not asking whether or not Jesus is the Messiah as much as he is asking is there another Messiah. One of the great opinions of first-century Judaism concerning the Messiah, was the idea of there being two Messiahs. The two Messiah concept was prevalent among the Jews. There was to be Messiah ben Joseph (son of Joseph)-the suffering Messiah who would fulfill the duties of priest and would be killed for the sins of the world. The other was Messiah ben David (son of David)-the victorious Messiah who would bring Israel to glory, fulfilling the role of king and would live forever. So, in keeping with the two Messiah concept, yet a bit confused about the manner in which Jesus appeared, John asks if they are to be seeking another Messiah as well. You see, when you are in a Roman prison, this is a great time to have Messiah ben David to show up-to kick the tuchus of the Romans and bring Israel to its kingdom glory. This is no time for Messiah ben Joseph-the Messiah who will be killed as a sacrifice.

Jesus does something that is fascinating to me. He quotes the prophet Isaiah as He answers the question by quoting the passage that might best be attributed to the victorious Messiah ben David and Jesus adds a curious act to the list of what the Messiah will do-the raising of the dead. There are not two Messiahs! Both of these concepts of Messiah are all wrapped up into one-His name is Jesus. The only possible way for the two messiahs to be brought into one is the resurrection of the dead. "Messiah ben Joseph" must come, be sacrificed and die as the Lamb of God for the sins of the world and "Messiah ben David" must come and reign as king forever on planet earth. The only possible way for that to happen is to have the Messiah come to be sacrificed for the sins of the world (the first coming of Jesus), be resurrected by God and someday come again to reign forever (the second coming of Jesus).

So Jesus' answer here is listen to what I am saying and watch what I am doing and then you'll know the Messiah completely! The same is true for us today! Jesus is the Messiah-our Deliverer from the sin that separates us from ourselves, others and God-and He is the only way we will ever make it out of here alive!