Jesus left Galilee and went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John kept objecting and said, “I ought to be baptized by you. Why have you come to me?”
Jesus answered, “For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do.” Then John agreed.
So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” Matthew 3:13-17 CEV
Just a few short chapters later, John was put in prison and the bible tells us this:
When John was in prison, he heard about the things Christ had done. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?”
Jesus answered John’s disciples, “Go back, and tell John what you hear and see: Blind people see again, lame people are walking, those with skin diseases are made clean, deaf people hear again, dead people are brought back to life, and poor people hear the Good News. Whoever doesn’t lose his faith in me is indeed blessed.” Matthew 11:2-6 GW
So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?” But he already knew because of what we read in chapter 3. He saw the Spirit of God come on Jesus. He heard the voice of God announcing, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” So why did he do this?
Perhaps John saw what Isaiah had prophesied differently. We all have our own preconceived ideas as to how things look like they should happen. The only thing that separated chapter 3 from chapter 11 was that John found himself at the end of his ministry, his purpose had been fulfilled. He had done what God had sent him to do and I think deep down, he knew it. He just didn’t expect to be in prison. Didn’t expect his end to come like this.
So in his prison, his thoughts began to run wild. Didn’t Isaiah say that the Messiah would set the captives free? That’s me! I’m being held captive and so I’ll send my followers to let him know where I am. Perhaps he just doesn’t know? Surely he will come and rescue me from this prison because hey, that’s what Isaiah said and I know he was talking about the Messiah.
I wonder what he thought when his messengers returned and told him what Jesus said? Down in that dark prison, alone, realizing that everything he had thought would happen wasn’t going to happen that way at all.
Hello? Is that you? Expecting things to go in one direction because that was your understanding but all the while, you interpreted it wrong? Your expectations met a reality you weren’t quite ready for. Why did they die? Why did that happen that way? Why did he/she leave me? “God, you promised!” Did He? Or did you just see it differently than He meant it?
Let’s get the glass cleaner out and clean off those lenses, John. The words Jesus spoke next were indeed His eulogy for John. (Matthew 11:7-18)
As they were leaving, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John. “What did you go into the desert to see? Tall grass swaying in the wind? Really, what did you go to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Those who wear fine clothes are in royal palaces.
“Really, what did you go to see? A prophet? Let me tell you that he is far more than a prophet. John is the one about whom Scripture says,
‘I’m sending my messenger ahead of you
to prepare the way in front of you.’
“I can guarantee this truth: Of all the people ever born, no one is greater than John the Baptizer. Yet, the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it. All the Prophets and Moses’ Teachings prophesied up to the time of John. If you are willing to accept their message, John is the Elijah who was to come. Let the person who has ears listen!
“How can I describe the people who are living now? They are like children who sit in the marketplaces and shout to other children,
‘We played music for you,
but you didn’t dance.
We sang a funeral song,
but you didn’t show any sadness.’
“John came neither eating nor drinking, and people say, ‘There’s a demon in him!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He’s a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
“Yet, wisdom is proved right by its actions.”
We know by reading that God’s plan was so much bigger than just John. He was a part or a much bigger plan. I keep hearing the words, “My ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are much bigger than your thoughts!”
Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to obey, even when we just don’t see it the way You meant it, Father. I feel my heart bursting with trust right now. Even in the middle of this mess I’m looking at in the natural, there’s so much more to it than I can see. Your words were, “More blessed are those who haven’t seen but yet believe!” I believe!