Sunday, December 12, 2010

Are You the One?

"John sends disciples to Jesus"
by Eduard Karl Franz von Gebhardt

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 7:18-35

TO CHEW ON: "And John, calling two of his disciples to him sent them to Jesus saying, 'Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?'...And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight." Luke 7:19-21

Sometimes when you're in the middle of circumstances, you lose perspective. That seems to have been the case with John the Baptist. This bold, preacher was now in prison (arrested for confronting Herod about his immoral lifestyle -  Matthew 14:3-5). He had gone all out for Jesus, convinced that He was indeed the fulfillment of prophecies like Isaiah 35 that we read yesterday.

Perhaps like Jesus' disciples, John expected him to demonstrate His Messiahship in a human ruler way. Perhaps his time in prison, with Jesus not openly standing up for him or using His power to get him released was giving rise to the questions: "Is Jesus really who I thought was. Or did I sacrifice my life for an imposter?"

Read today's passage closely. Do you notice how verse 21 functions almost like editorial comment? It's as if Luke himself is trying to underline the connection between Jesus and fulfilled prophecy when he says: "And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight."

Of course Jesus' own answer confirms the connection:

"Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them: 7:22.

Compare to Isaiah 35: 5-6:

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing."

We are not so different from John. It's easy to think that we have God's plan all figured out as we watch circumstances dovetail with how we imagine God will answer our prayers. A wealthy couple starts attending our cash-strapped church. Our limping business catches the attention of an influential person. Our wayward child gets a Christian friend. Ah, we say, this is how God will work. But when things don't go according to our plan, do we, like John, get disheartened and start to doubt?

With Jesus' reply to him ringing in our ears: "Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me" let's keep our faith strong. For just as God's plan was bigger than the political saviour expectations of John and the disciples, so God's ways in our lives are bound to exceed the puny, imagination-limited results we envision.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your destiny-altering plan of salvation. Thank You for including short-sighted, weak-faithed people like me in it. Help me to do my part, even when I don't understand why I'm in the place I am in, or what purpose my life is playing. Amen.

MORE: A verse to ponder (even memorize)

   “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
      Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
       “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
      So are My ways higher than your ways,
        And My thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8,9

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