John the Baptist prepared the way. He preached with a fire and conviction that produced repentance. He pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God.
And now, the Baptist wants to know, was I wrong? Is there maybe someone else who will bring God’s kingdom and God’s will, on earth as it is in heaven?
It sounds like a question from Doubting Thomas, not John the Baptist. But look where John is: after all of his preaching and baptizing and faithful service, John is sitting on death row waiting for the ax. No wonder this doesn’t feel like God’s Kingdom to John as he sits in his dark, dank prison cell.
Jesus gives an answer straight out of the Old Testament imagery for God’s final victory; it can be kind of confusing, but the End Times victory of God is already present ahead of time in Jesus. Jesus gives the same answer to your legitimate questions when this life feels like it can’t possibly be under the reign of a good and gracious God. Wherever Jesus is present, the Kingdom of God comes. And Jesus is present with you, wherever you are. Don’t give up hope. The Kingdom is coming; and the Kingdom will come, at last, for good. Not even death can keep the King from his final victory.
Matthew 11:2-6 (NIV)
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
The blind receive sight,
the lame walk,
those who have leprosy are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
King Jesus, wherever you are present, the active reign and rule of God is at work. Be present in my life. Forgive my sins. Heal my body. Restore my mind. Strengthen my feeble hands. Comfort me in my grief.
Then pour out your Spirit on me, that I may also be a messenger of God’s freedom and God’s favor. Your kingdom come. Amen.