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Saturday, November 20, 2004

Advent 3 – Mt 11:2-11- Thoughts and Meditation

Doubting John...

I had this impression of Jesus and John the Baptist being so likeminded, that the idea that John would be on the verge of disbelieving in Jesus, was not apparent to me in this passage. After some consideration of these verses however, that impression has been shattered. Three points in verses 2 and 6 seemed to be indicating one thing, that John was a little like a reed blowing in the wind. At least being tempted that way.


Firstly verse 2.

When John heard in prison what Christ was doing...

What was Christ doing? Sending out his disciples to the towns around, to preach the good nes, to heal, and perform miracles. I believe it is plausible to argue that John was expecting something more. Here he is in prison (whether he estimated his life was on the line we do not know), and Jesus is the one who supposedly was going to come in power, to destroy the powers that were. Yet, Jesus is doing nothing of the sort, but is sending disciples out to be His spokeperson to the regions around Galilee. John's might very well have been asking himself, was I wrong in my estimation of Jesus?


Secondly, the second part of verse 2 shows the doubt that had arisen in his mind. His question to Jesus is, "Are you the one...or..?" Hear the wavering in that statement. John's belief that Jesus was the one was being brought into question. Might I have been wrong?


Thirdly, in verse 6, Jesus provides the reaasurance that John needed to avoid the tempting he was facing. Jesus states that, "Blessed is the man who does not fall away..." This word skandalizo is making refrence again to John's wavering belief. Jesus was having to tell John, "Trust me."


Jesus goes on to question the audience, regarding their thoughts about John. Three rhetorical questions in a row. Was John a reed being blown about the wind? Was John someone who bent his message to the audience? No. John was rock solid in everything he preached. Was John a hopeful to the throne, someone who aspired to be the ruler of the people. No, John discarded all the trimmings of life. Was John a prophet? Yes, and more. John was the frontrunner for Christ, preparing people for the coming of the saviour.


In our faith lives we commonly face times of doubt. Is Jesus really the one? Did he really overcome death? Will I be saved? It's at times like these that Jesus says, "Just trust me." It is the simple faith and belief, that despite the temptation to disbelieve, makes rock solid, and unlike the quivering reed. It has been some two millenia since Jesus came to earth as a baby. Many have used this as a reason to not believe, claiming that this length of time proves that Jesus was a fake. Am I willing to hang my hat on that simple word of reassurance "Trust me."? After all Jesus promises blessing on those who do not fall away.


Dear Jesus, help me to call on you at times of tempting.


1. Structural Diagram
2. Surrounding Context
3. Key Cross References
4. Key Questions
5. Thoughts and Meditation

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