Signs of the Messiah

Why does John the Baptist ask Jesus “Are you the Messiah”? Christ systematically highlights unquestionable evidence witnessed by John’s own disciples. He points out to prophecy and reaffirms John’s faith and mission.

Overview

  • Bible Passage: Matt 11:1-6, Luke 7.18-23
  • Background
  • Is John confused?
  • He reconfirms
  • He reaffirms
  • He redirects
  • Christ’s response
  • The new reality

Objectives

To understand:

  • Why John the Baptist asked for confirmation if Jesus is the Messiah
  • Biblical evidence that Jesus is the Messiah

Bible Passage

Matt 11:1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

 

Bible Passage (Cont'd)

Matt 11:2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Background

In the second year of Jesus’ ministry, he is already excommunicated from his home town Nazareth. John is in prison in the house of Herod’s first wife who is his supporter. She allows visitors to meet him and even sends him food from her table. In the second half of the year, she leaves for her father’s house.

Is John Confused?

Why is John clarifying Jesus as Messiah?

Did he not say “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”?

Did he not witness the Holy Spirit on Jesus as God’s confirmation of His Son?

While we may not understand the great man’s mind, we can but guess his thoughts. One of Jesus’ roles as Messiah was to release prisoners as Jesus himself earlier quoted in Luke 4:18, repeating Isaiah’s messianic prophesy

Is John Confused?

Maybe, he thought that the promised Messiah was to rule, to judge. In John’s words “his winnowing fork is at hand”. None of these seemed to be happening. Jesus was being rejected, John was in prison.

God’s Secret Wisdom

On the flip side, God’s work through Jesus was probably still a secret.  In 1 Cor 2:7 and 8, Paul says  No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

God’s Secret Wisdom

God’s mystery was a secret even to Satan. Jesus’ humble manhood and service, hid his majestic power and greatness. Even his disciples and family really understood only after His death.

john Reconfirms

Knowing he has limited time, John’s questions “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”. The question probably implies “is my work done or is there more to do?”

He reaffirms

This question can also be a reaffirmation for his disciples whom he is leaving behind.

He Redirects

In the course of this question he is redirecting his disciples to the Messiah. Andrew and possibly others have already followed Christ. The remaining are still hovering around John.

He sends them to find out from Christ Himself, not only for him but for themselves

Christ’s response

Matt 11:4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

You haven’t missed the true Messiah

Jesus points to the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61:1

Don’t trip over the new reality

The New Reality

In the eyes of the world the Messiah was to rule in the worldly sense.

Jesus’ reign begins spiritually.

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45

Adam was the first man in the world with a soul. Jesus brought a means of awakening our dead spirits (that Adam darkened by sin). Jesus gives us the opportunity to be spiritual beings.

The New Reality

While he demonstrated his Messianic nature by raising the dead, healing he sick, his purpose was to bring spiritual life and keep it healthy. To reign in the hearts of His people.

We are quick to link material and physical benefits to our status in Christ. Christ’s focus is spiritual prosperity.

Are we ready to dig deep into the spiritual riches God has and believe in them at the cost of what the world offers? Even churches today revolve around worldly parameters – positions, programs

We are addicted

Many today are tripping over the new reality. They are veering towards, Good works, external righteousness, etc. – Satan’s counterfeit form of Christianity – without Christ, without transformation of soul.Matt 11:6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”Are we ready to buck the trend and focus on new spiritual life, spiritual growth, soul healing?Are we ready to walk by faith, not by sight?

Discussion

1.Discuss the statement “Blessed are those who do not stumble because of me”. Give examples of how we can fall into this trap.

2.Explain the statement, “the blind, see, the lame walk, the dead are raised” in the spiritual context.

3.How do we get and maintain soul vision?

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