Thursday, October 6
Matthew 11:2-19 NRSV
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!
“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon;’ the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
But the word “blessed” is more than joyful; it means literally, “not subject to fate,” “deathless.” It depicts the kind of life that rises above the fated mechanism of earthly life into moral and spiritual freedom. So the two meanings taken together would give the meaning of blessed, that is, “to be deathless and happy.”
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount.
The great prophet finds himself in prison. He’s keeping up with the Messiah he prepared Israel for. But things aren’t turning out like he expected. His vision of perfection, of high places brought low and low places brought high; of rough ways made smooth and crooked ones straight, is not happening. He sends word to Jesus, “Are you really the one?” Jesus says neither yes or no, but answers, “Go and tell John, ‘The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and good news is preached to the poor.’” In the face of a perfection longed for, Jesus delivers more. He gives them a picture of perfect.