Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.
Matthew 11:4-5 (NRSV)
John the Baptist is in prison and has one simple question for Jesus: Just answer this one thing and I can die a happy man; Are YOU the Messiah?
And what does Jesus say?
He tells the condemned man to figure it out for himself!
Really great, eh?
I used to wonder why Jesus just couldn’t give his poor imprisoned cousin John a straight answer; just tell him “yes” or “no,” Jesus!
But we serve a God who never wastes an opportunity to increase our faith. Had Jesus just given a simple “yes” John would have been in the same spot, and still wondering to this day!
But, by pointing to the evidence, Jesus kept the issue of faith and personal decision in the forefront. John had to exercise his faith in Jesus, or be content with his unbelief.
Jesus’ indirect answer to John helps us understand the very same answer today, because Jesus asks us to consider for ourselves the same question he had asked the disciples….Who do YOU say that I am?
In other words, Jesus tells us mortals, prisoners of our own sinful nature and this lost world, that our task here on earth is to consider the evidence…which is:
Jesus has done it all – healed the deaf, gave sight to the blind, enabled the disabled, and even raised the dead…and by Easter morning an empty tomb would be the final proof that a dead man really would live again. His sacrifice would make it possible for us to be saved from our sins, and know God…personally.
The evidence tells us our task is to come close to God and experience his love just as certainly as the blind, deaf and dead felt the compassionate touch of Jesus two thousand years ago. The Psalmist gave us the same advice:
O taste and see that the LORD is good; Psalm 34:8a (KJV)
Jesus isn’t hiding, but if you want to find out how good he really is, you’ve got to taste that goodness personally…nobody else can use your taste buds!
How “personal” is your relationship with Jesus Christ?
Church can be overly-corporate with our spoken confessions of faith, unison readings of Scripture and Denominational identity.
But when it comes down to your soul, it is YOUR will, your “spiritual taste buds” that are deciding whose side you’re on; YOU decide who He is!
[Title image: By Shakko (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons]