When John heard from prison what Jesus was doing, he sent message to Jesus, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blinds receive their sight, the lames walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have heard Good News.”
It seems strange that John asked this question. John should already know the answer to this question. It’s about a year after he baptized Jesus and admitted him as Messiah. The Spirit in the form of a dove landed on Jesus, and a voice from heaven declared that he is the beloved Son of God. Could John have forgotten all that so quickly?
Apparently, he had! Human memory is often faulty. We tend to forget past events rather quickly. It is not just older people who forget. Sometimes younger ones do too. The events of the intervening time get in the way of remembering.
Actually, the intervening events troubled John’s memory so that he was unsure of the past. Had it really happened the way he thought it had or was that really his imagination. John was in a prison and it had bad food, rats, lice, and darkness of the prison had affected his memory.
If Jesus was really the Messiah come to free the prisoners, why was God’s prophet stuck in a pit. If the Son of God had arrived to pour out the Holy Spirit on the faithful and fire on the wicked, why hadn’t he done it?
Months in King Herod’s prison had troubled John’s memory. They had also darkened his eyes. He could no longer see clearly that Jesus was the Messiah as he had that day when he baptized him. So, Jesus decided to help John see more clearly.
He sent a message saying, “Go tell John what do you see? The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the sick recover, lepers are cleansed, and the dead are raised. Even the poor and oppressed hear Good News.”
The answer to John’s question was right there in front of him but he failed to see it. The answer was in the works that Christ was performing. It was in the healings, proclamation of Good News, and the resurrections. Jesus the Messiah the Son of God was at work in the world.
But John couldn’t see it! John’s own situation kept him from seeing it clearly. The problems of the present darkened his memory of the past.
Often times we see Christ in a moment of glory as John did. The heavens open and we hear God’s voice. It clear to us that God is at work in the world. God has sent the Messiah to bring love and light to us.
But like John we find ourselves in a pit. Our memory of the time when we saw Christ so clearly is clouded. And we wonder, “Is that how it really happened, or was I dreaming?” As we look around we fail to see the evidence that Christ is in the world bringing comfort and love.
Like John we need someone to open our eyes again, my friends! We need someone to uncloud our memories and remind us of what Christ has done in our lives. Someone to open our eyes to see the works of Christin our world today. Maybe that is what this season is all about. Reminding us that Christ came, Christ is coming and Christ will come again.
Many people ask, “Is he the one or should I look for another.” I am here today to tell you that he is the one. Jesus the love and the light of the world is here. He is bringing love and light to human hearts. Sick are healed, the hungry are fed. Those who are spiritually dead are given new life, the blind see. The lost have Good News preached to them!
Looking for Christ is liked looking for love and hope into the faces of poverty troubled parts of the world. People are committed helping them rebuild. Join the Abundant Life preparing backpacks for kids. Go to the stores and see people giving change to the Salvation Army. Look at what our church is doing this holiday season with Operation Christmas Child (Shoebox), and our HUGS Christmas tree.
If like John you find yourself asking, “Has God’s salvation come or should we keep looking for it,” then look around. Ask Jesus, as John did, to show you God’s love at work.
It may be hard to see that love at times but look for it. The pits that we live in blur our eyesight and dull our vision. The commercialism of this season often clouds the true meaning of it. The hustle and bustle creates noise in our lives that makes it hard to hear Angels singing to shepherds. So sometimes we forget. We forget the Baby Manger, the love of the world.
Look for Christ in Christmas! He is here. The signs are all around us, and they are not colorful posters. They are the same signs Jesus pointed out to John: the sick are healed, the slaves are freed, the unloved are loved, and the Good News is preached to poor souls.
Keep looking for these signs. Ask God to give you a new vision of Christ in this season of love and hope. Look for Christ, my friends! The love and light of the world has come. His name is Jesus, Son of Mary, Son of God, and the Savior of us all. Shalom and Amen!