John The Baptizer & Elijah The Prophet

After Jesus finished instructing & sending his twelve witnesses, he continued teaching & preaching in the surrounding towns (81).

John the Baptizer was in prison; he had been locked up by Herod.  When John heard about the things that Jesus was doing, he sent some of his students to Jesus to ask him: “Are you the one that John said was going to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus answered, “Go back and tell John what you see & hear.  Blind people see, lame people walk, people with leprosy are made clean, deaf people hear, dead people have life restored, and the good news about God is being preached to the poor. By all this, God wants to bless you by removing all doubts about me.”

While John’s students were leaving, Jesus spoke about him to the crowds: “When you went out to John the Baptizer in the desert, what did you expect? That he would simply be a blade of grass bending in the wind? Or that he would be a man dressed up in fancy clothes? (People who dress like that live in palaces.)

“So what did you actually expect, a prophet? Yes, that’s it.

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“But you saw much more than a prophet. In the inspired scriptures, God said this about John the Baptizer: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.’ John the Baptizer is greater than any man who has ever lived. Yet even the least person in God’s kingdom is greater than John.

“From the time John began preaching until now, his message has been violently resisted – even though all the prophets & the law of Moses spoke about the coming of God’s kingdom, just as John teaches.  If you are willing to believe the law & the prophets, then you should see that John the Baptizer is that same Elijah whose return was prophesied.

Then Jesus warned them against expecting to have God on their terms.  “Listen to what God is saying to you!

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“Don’t whine like children sitting in the marketplace — one group crying out to the other, ‘We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn’t dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn’t mourn!’

“When John came, he fasted & drank no wine, and people said, ‘He has an evil spirit in him!’  When I came, I ate & drank, and people said, ‘He’s a glutton & a boozer, a friend of tax collectors & other outcasts!’

“You jump to conclusions, you fill in some justification & then you declare that wisdom!

“But true wisdom is seen in the actions of those who truly love God.”

 

(81) Matthew 11:1-19, Luke 7:18-35