“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are you the coming One or do we look for another?”
That John the Baptist sent disciples to Jesus to ask him if He was the Messiah is quite astonishing considering that (1) he (John) was the forerunner who told everybody about Jesus (2) baptized Him, and (3) saw the heavens up and heard the voice the proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God.
That John – that man who Jesus called the greatest man to ever live – doubted the identity of Jesus tells us that the people must have had some credibility with John and or were very convincing. It also teaches us that we must be careful to examine what we are told before we allow ourselves to internalize it – to let what may be facts become truth to us.
The folks who spoke to John I am sure came as angels of light. ‘Oh John, we don’t want you to think of us as tattle tales, but we must tell you that you have been bamboozled. He is not who you think He is. It pains us to tell you this but we must tell you nonetheless for we care about you and we don’t want you to spend time in jail. Why should you die in part because of your allegiance to this phony fellow’, they must have said. Then they proceeded to tell him some carefully chosen facts.
Now why did they present only a few facts? It is either because they ‘loved’ John or because they hated Jesus. Either way, they wanted to get their own way!
For whatever reason, instead of seeing the wonderful things that were happening through Jesus – the deaf hearing, blind receiving sight, demons being cast out and much more – they were more concerned that he hung around with tax collectors and sinners. In other words, they were more concerned about holding onto their laws than giving their life to people (selfishness versus selflessness)!
They cared more about when he decided to heal (whether on the Sabbath or not) than that people were getting healed. They even paid attention to what he ate and what he drank. In other words, they were busybodies instead of staying busy helping everybody!
Check out what Jesus says about these folks (Matthew 11:18-19 paraphrase): They accused John of having a demon when he decided not to eat and drink. Yet when I eat and drink, they accuse me of being a glutton and being a drunk! But wisdom is justified by her children.
What Jesus is doing here is warning us of people that (1) you can’t satisfy (2) have preconceived notions in their head about the way things ought to be (2) only see what they want to see (3) want people to fit into a bubble that they construct for them so they feel secure (4) are very resistant to change (something different) even if it is good (5) want to keep a hold of traditions that worked before but have now outlived their usefulness (6) are blinded by the futility of their own thinking (7) have their own agenda.
Since we won’t necessarily know when people are behaving out of such a heart (for we can all be guilty of being like those who went to John), this passage of scripture in Matthew gives us 3 things to always do when we are hear something about someone that we are not sure fits.
Pray: In a spiritual sense, what John did by sending his disciples to have a chat with Jesus about it was pray. When you are hearing all sorts of slander about someone, the first thing you need to do is go to Jesus and ask Him about it. Ofcourse in the case of John, that person was Jesus.
Examine the Person’s life: Jesus said in response to the people that were accusing of everything that ‘wisdom is justified by her children’. Moreover, he told John’s disciples to give him a report of the wonderful things that were happening. Friends, wisdom always gives birth to the fruit of the Spirit and achieves good, both in the life of the wise and the lives of people the wise touch.
Ask the Person: After praying and examining the person’s life, the next thing to do is ask the person (if needed). John did not guess at it when he could not corroborate or deny the words of those that spoke to him. He went straight to the accused.
Note: John was unable to truly examine the character of Jesus’ life for he had been thrown in prison. That’s why I believe he asked
———————————————————————-Friend, if you are unsure about Jesus, instead of asking everyone else about their opinion of Him, how about asking Him to reveal Himself to you? It will save you a ton of confusion and wasted time.