December 19, 2017
READ: Matthew 11:2-11
Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else? (v.3).
The wealthy and powerful often have their names chiselled into cornerstones of large buildings after a lavish donation in an attempt to leave their mark on history. Although philanthropy can be a good thing, the memory of those who gave will fade with the years.
John the Baptist was not wealthy, yet his name lives on in the pages of the Bible. Jesus said of him, “Of all who have ever lived, none is greater” (Matthew 11:11). That seems like the ultimate honour.
But consider the context of Jesus’ statement. John had been imprisoned for over a year at this point, and he had begun to question some things about Christ. So he sent some followers to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” (v.3).
Jesus said, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is being preached to the poor” (vv.4-5).
Jesus’ words reassured John and his disciples, but the Lord didn’t rescue him. Instead, He continued teaching the people by quoting Malachi’s prophecy: “John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you’ ” (v.10). The powerful prophet’s work had run its course.
Now consider Jesus’ conclusion to His statement about John: “Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!” (v.11).
Buildings crumble; trust funds get misspent; names and people are forgotten. But Jesus is doing something entirely new that will last forever—and He’s doing it with us.
365-day plan: James 1:2-27
Read Malachi 3:1-4 and Isaiah 35:4-6 to see the context of the Old Testament passages referenced by Jesus in Matt. 11.
What has God done for you? Why is it vital to think on these things when the struggles of life cause you to question Him?