Art Thou He. . .?

Matthew 11:2-3. ‘Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto Him, Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?”

John the Baptist hasn’t been heard from or about since chapter 4:12, which tells us that when Jesus heard that John was in prison, He departed into Galilee.  The spotlight that was on John for a short while had been moved to Jesus, and John spent some time in prison. When we get to chapter 14, we’ll hear the rest of John’s story.

John, like most of the other Jews, probably expected that Jesus, Messiah, would soon establish the Kingdom.  It would be normal for John to expect to have some kind of position or to share in the glories of the Kingdom.  Instead, he found himself in what I’m pretty sure was not a state-of-the-art prison cell, not knowing what his future would be.

Sounds to me like he became discouraged, maybe depressed.  Prison is a lonely place, and hopelessness is common there. John must have wondered if all his efforts had been for nothing.  He was human, after all, and don’t we all question things at times?

There are a couple of theories regarding this passage. One is that John indeed doubted Who Jesus was, and sent his disciples to confront Jesus.  Another is that John was perfect, and needed no reassurance; he sent his disciples because they needed reassurance.

Neither of these theories sets well for me, because they require that things be inserted into scripture that aren’t really there.  I love that old saying, “If the plain sense makes common sense, then any other sense is nonsense.”

So, looking at John as a godly man who wakes up in prison day after day, it shouldn’t be surprising that he sent to Jesus asking for some confirmation of his own ministry.  It makes me think of a child, having been disciplined, tearfully asking his daddy, “Do you still love me?”   Or, it is similar to Gideon asking for a sign from God;  God did not rebuke Gideon, but fulfilled his request for reassurance.

I love the answer Jesus sent back.

One thought on “Art Thou He. . .?

  1. Pingback: *How* will we know the truth that sets us free? What is TSSI and is Jesus’ bodily resurrection the validation of His teachings? (part II of IV) | theology like a child

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