19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”
Israel had long waited for the Messiah to come. And we wouldn't be surprised to have somebody in Israel ask the question, but we are a little surprised that it comes from the mouth of John the Baptist. Why is John asking this question since he would have known about the virgin birth of Jesus, because they were relatives, he would have heard stories that circulated in the family about the perfections of Jesus as a person, as a sinless child and a sinless young man and a sinless adult? And he did, after all, declare, pointing to Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." And he did on one occasion even say, and it's recorded in all four gospels, "You are the long Expected One." And he also heard a voice from heaven, the Father, saying, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," and the voice came right when John was baptizing Jesus. And he also saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus, further divinely affirming Him as the Messiah...so the strange reality is, why is he asking the question?
Well, because it's the most important question there is. And he had all of that evidence that Jesus was the Expected One, the Coming One, the long-awaited Messiah, but there were some things that just didn't fit. Where was the regal splendor of the Messiah? Where was His kingliness? Why was He not ascending to the throne? Why was He not establishing Himself as the sovereign? Why was He not overthrowing the Romans? Why was He being rejected and hated by the religious establishment? Why did things appear to be going in the wrong direction? Why was He not asserting Himself as a sovereign? So the doubts creeping into the mind of John, is He really Israel's strength and consolation? Is He really the desire of every nation, as Haggai, the prophet, had called Him?John wanted to be sure. He wanted to check the packing slip, check the file, check the attendance folder, check to form and double check with Jesus if he really was who he said he was. I'm sure it was easy to doubt it because there was no real fanfare for the arrival of someone so important, so expected, so crucial.
When it is accepted that Jesus IS who he says he is...what does that mean??
Well let me just tell you what it means and I'm going to give you a description of a Christian. It means that we trust His wisdom beyond all other wisdom. It means that we believe that everything that He says and everything that is said in the Bible about Him is absolutely true and anything that contradicts any of it is wrong. It means that we desire to know His thoughts above all thoughts as supreme. It means that we long to hear and obey His Word over all other words. It means that we give Him our lives now and forever, we entrust Him not only with our time but with our eternity, believing firmly in a person and a reality that we have never seen, but the testimony of Scripture is sufficient to verify. It means that we obey His commandments with joy. It means we love Him supremely and we love people who love Him and we even love people He loves who don't love Him. It means we give our lives to proclaim His gospel, the gospel of salvation. To say that Jesus is Lord which is the Christian confession is to say that we accept Jesus as our absolute authority and source for all that is true. It means that we desire always to do what pleases Him, though we fail. It means we fear Him, we worship Him, we obey Him and we proclaim Him above all others. To confess Jesus as Lord means that no area of our lives is unaffected by our relationship to Him. Our relationship to Him defines what we think, it defines our attitudes, it defines our emotions, it defines what we say. It defines how we act in every area of life. Our relationship to Him pervades all our being. To confess Jesus as Lord means that we trust His purpose for our lives and we trust His utter sovereign control over all aspects of our lives including our failures and our successes, our blessings and our sorrows, our sickness and even our death. To confess Jesus as Lord means that we count Him as the source of all that is good and all that is right and all that is blessed, and therefore He is to be thanked for everything. To confess Him as Lord means that we believe that He created and controlled the entire universe, that He has pre-written all history so that it is directed in its course toward perfect fulfillment of His intended desire when He pre-wrote it. To confess Jesus as Lord, to be a Christian, means to give our souls to Him, our bodies to Him as living sacrifices, our minds to Him, our time to Him, our abilities to Him, our money to Him, our prayers to Him. It means to dedicate our children to Him and to pray that everyone we know may love Him the way we love Him. To confess Jesus as Lord means to give our lives in service to Him, fellowship in the church, to engage ourselves in ministries of all kinds to the honor of His name and the spread of His gospel. To confess Jesus as Lord means that we are willing to live for Him no matter what it requires and if asked, to die for Him with an affirmation of His glory on our lips as our life leaves us.
John asked. He wanted to be sure. He wanted to check the paperwork, check the file, check the source and be sure that Jesus was who he says he was. John the Baptist had doubts. Even though he had seen the signs first hand and been preaching and baptizing to prepare the way for Jesus he needed to be sure.
MacArthur offers this:
This is the One the Old Testament calls the Expected One. But the great prophet John had some doubts because so much of what I've just given you apparently wasn't in the forefront of Jewish thinking. It was all about the triumph, all about the victory, all about the sovereignty, all about the Kingdom, all about the rule, the glory and they overlooked the humiliation part. And the way things were going, John's mind had become confused. The angels knew He would be the Expected One. The shepherds knew, the wise men knew, certainly Mary knew, eventually the Apostles knew. And John just needed to be sure, "Are You the Expected One?"
....Don't be offended by the truth, people. Don't be skeptical. Just believe and be eternally blessed, right? The evidence is consummate. Don't stumble, just believe and especially now. You have what John didn't have, all the rest of the New Testament with all of its indications of the fact that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Coming One. He's all you need. He's all we need. He's all we want. Christ is our all in all. He said, "I am the Christ," and He met our need for a Savior. He said, "I am the Bread of life," and He met the hunger of our souls. He said, "I am the Light of the World," and He dispelled our darkness. He said, "I am the Door of the sheep," and He ended our spiritual homelessness. He said, "I am the Good Shepherd," and He took us into His fold. He said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," and He conquered our death. He said, "I am your Master," and He provided for our dependence. He said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," and He took us to God.
What does it take for us to be sure?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 7:21-23
To confess Jesus as Lord means that we are willing to live for Him no matter what it requires and if asked, to die for Him with an affirmation of His glory on our lips as our life leaves us.
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