Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.
We stayed around Nain for awhile until one day two men walked up.
“Who are you?” Peter asks.
“John sent us to speak to Jesus.” they answered.
“Where is John the Baptist?” Nathaniel asked.
Jesus had walked up, looking sad for a moment at his cousin’s fate. They continued, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
Jesus held up a hand as more people came.
“Watch,” I said.
Over the course of the day, Jesus healed the sick, drove out evil spirits, and gave the blind sight. When he was done, he looked at them, saying, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 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.”
It reminded me of the prophet Isaiah’s words. “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”
Jesus’ response reminded me of something else Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”
They left, having seen prophecy come true, to tell John. Jesus watched for a moment, then turned towards us, and the crowd.
“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what 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:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
He quoted the prophet, Malachi. Jesus said John was even greater than Moses or Elijah, yet the least of us was greater than John. How so? Jesus is using the language of riddles.
The crowd divided, most of them, even the tax collectors, agreeing that God’s way is right. However, the Pharisees and Law experts rejected it, grumbling amongst themselves.
Jesus heard their grumbling. He looked at them, saying, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
“Inconsistent, spoiled children,” Matthew said quietly beside me.
“What he’s comparing them to. Children who argue so long that they get their way, forever unhappy because something isn’t what they expect.”
“He did put a bit of finality at the end of it about wisdom being proved right by her children.”
But Jesus had more to say…
Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1