32 – Question from The Baptist
Where: Capernaum, Galilee
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When Jesus returned to Capernaum from Nain, two of the Baptist’s disciples finally ‘caught up’ with him. The Baptist was now being held in the fortress of Machaerus, in Perea. This was a fortress that Herod the Great had built. Now it belonged to Antipas, and was used by him as a “maximum security” prison, and a winter retreat.
The two disciples had only one question they were instructed to ask Jesus, though there were actually three parts to the question. ‘Are you the prophet Elijah? the Messiah? Or should we look for someone else?’ The Baptist had thought of himself as a herald and that Jesus would be Elijah, the messenger announcing the Messiah. Now that Jesus had really begun his ministry, John had seriously questioned his own interpretations. Maybe Jesus was the Messiah. Now the Baptist was finally asking for Jesus to speak clearly about his mission.
Jesus’ response was purely Jewish. ‘What do you see and hear? Do I appear to be Elijah or the Messiah?’ The disciples of John questioned many, and found out all that had been happening in relation to the prophecy of Isaiah with the blind, deaf, lame, and speechless receiving help. As they investigated, they remembered the prophesy of liberty and comfort that Isaiah. had spoken. Then they left Capernaum with their answer and returned to inform John the Baptizer what they had seen and heard.
When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus finally clearly defined John’s role. ‘John IS the messenger prophesied by Malachi. His is the spirit of Elijah sent to prepare the way for the Messiah’.
But then Jesus continued. ‘Yet, as great as the Baptist was, he was never fortunate enough to receive even the first fruits of the kingdom that are even now being experienced by those who are hearing and being touched. It is really a shame that although some people are experiencing the coming Kingdom, most have not bothered to seek it, or they oppose the kingdom and it’s messenger. How typical it is for people to expect God to act in some preconceived manner. They are looking for God to act in a particular way and are not open to ANY deviation’.
No questions have been asked yet.