Sunday 15 December 2013

Bible Book:

Matthew 11:2-11 Sunday 15 December 2013


John the Baptist (now in prison) sent a deputation of his ownfollowers to question Jesus. Perhaps we can understand John'sconcern. When he had baptized Jesus in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17) what ideas did he have in mindabout the way this man would take? What was John expecting? Whatwould Jesus, his cousin, do? Now shackled in Herod's dungeon Johnhas time to think, and time to ask.

Jesus had no difficulty in giving an answer to the question "Arethe one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?". He repliedthat the blind, the lame, the deaf and the leper are healed, thedead are raised and the poor have good news brought to them (verse5).

Jesus then called upon the crowd to acknowledge John's truegreatness (verses 7-9), by first asking the crowd to remember thetime when they had flocked to hear John preach and to receive hisbaptism of repentance. What did they think they were looking for?Nature in its awesome bleak magnificence? A stunning display ofwealth? No, for that you look in palaces. A prophet, perhaps? Ahyes, but not just another prophet; the greatest of all that eminentline!

Could we describe John as 'faithfully waiting'? His littledeputation suggests that he too may have found it a harddiscipline. We don't usually think of waiting as a long-termprospect; it rather loses its point if what we are waiting fornever happens.

Sitting in a doctor's (or dentist's) waiting room - or in the A& E department of your local hospital - can be a tryingexperience. You are expected just to sit and wait, unable to doanything to speed things up.

To Ponder

  • John needed to ask questions of his cousin Jesus. Can we becertain about anybody? Even about ourselves?
  • What is the good of waiting if you could make things happenimmediately? What if there's nothing at all you can do?
  • Why is patience held in such high regard? Does waiting make youa better person? If so, how?
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