Are You The One?
“When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:1–30, ESV)
John The Baptist
Jesus releases the disciples and turns the attention to John the Baptist, who is near the end of his ministry. From prison, John sends his disciples to Jesus to ask if he is the one who was to come or if they should be looking for another. It seems that John the Baptist was facing some doubt and uncertainty as he waits in his cell. He knew his calling, but as one faces the reality of death, questions can creep into one's mind. John's question is received and is answered with the directive for them to go and tell John what they see and hear which references Isaiah 61:1. Jesus even gives them the markers that they should relay to John. The gospel is being preached, and Jesus is authenticated by the miracles of healing and resurrection. Isaiah went further and spoke of Messiah judging the nations, but Jesus does not refer to this. All of this will take place in God’s time and John should be content with these things. Jesus does not disparage John for his questions. Instead, he speaks words of grace over him and describes the significance of John's ministry. Jesus quotes from Malachi 3:1 to explain that John is the messenger who prepares the way for Jesus, and the Elijah who was predicted in Malachi 4:5. Jesus describes John as the greatest man ever born. However, the least of those now in the kingdom of Christ is greater than John. Jesus’ words are an indication of the superiority of the new administration of God’s plan. The reception that John received was not warm, and it was similar to the response that Jesus received. John’s lifestyle led to his being called a devil. Jesus’ friendship with sinners became an occasion for derision and mockery. However, the service of John was highly regarded by God.
There was an unwillingness of many to serve Jesus Christ despite the mighty works of God which had been displayed in their midst. Cities like Chorazin and Bethsaida which saw the mighty works of Jesus are contrasted with cities like Tyre and Sodom, which did not. All the inhabitants of these cities will face the judgment of God, but God’s assessment of their rebellion and the lack of repentance will be just and will take into account the privileges of revelation they enjoyed. The greater our knowledge of gospel truth, the more dangerous our lack of submission to Christ becomes.
Jesus is thankful in spite of the fact that many remain stubborn and rebellious. The source of his gratitude is the fact that God sovereignly reigns over all these matters. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all active in salvation. The Father decrees the Son accomplishes, the Spirit applies. The Son is the apogee of God's revelation is Jesus. No one can be saved apart from God revealing himself to sinners. Jesus calls the weary to himself and promises rest. Jesus gives freedom from sin’s burden under his yoke. His call is not to the strong and self-sufficient, but to the weak and the weary. The soul finds rest under the easy yoke and light burden of Jesus.