11:2 When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples
11:3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
11:4 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
11:5 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.
11:6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
11:7 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?
11:8 What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces.
11:9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
11:10 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.’
11:11 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.
Many people in the first century were actively seeking the messiah. Some even thought that John the Baptist was the messiah. However, John and many others knew that he was just the trail blazer clearing the path for Jesus. However, even John at times had some doubts. Perhaps his doubt in this passage is due in part to the fact that he was imprisoned and he probably thought that the coming messiah would be more dominant and overtake the powers of the wicked in charge. Rather than taking over the government Jesus went to the poor and the needy which is also what was prophesied about the messiah. Jesus reminded John about the words of Isaiah.
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.” (Matthew 11:5)
On that day the deaf will hear words of a book,
And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. (Isaiah 29:18)
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. (Isaiah 35:5)
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. (Isaiah 42:7)
Indeed, the work of Jesus was to lowly and outcast. His work in the kingdom was one of miracles and healing not war and death.
Like Jesus we must also remember the needy and the outcasts. We must be the good Samaritan and take care of the poor and oppressed. The gospel will not achieve it’s goal through might or force, but only through peace, love, and service to our brothers and sisters.
The nation of Israel was constantly looking for a sign of the coming Messiah. However, before Christ could come, it was important that John the Baptist be used to prepare the way. Long before Jesus was born it was prophesied that God would send a messenger ahead of him. This prophecy came to pass and now that John had been taken away from them, the people could now see that Christ was the true messiah. The issue that the people were concerned with was how powerful they may have pictured the coming messiah was to appear.
Here we see that Jesus took on the form of a humble man and yet He did exemplify a power that was beyond what the physical rulers of that day could bring. His love for people stretched far beyond any human could have for another. He demonstrated His love for others by reaching out to those who were in need. Jesus was the one who was able to give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, cause the deaf to hear, raise the dead and be the Savior of this world. The work of Jesus was not to come and sit on a high throne and be served by servants in a grand palace. The true nature of who Jesus is was to come and reach out to those who were not only in physical need but in spiritual need.
Jesus Christ set the example for what the Church and the Christians ought to follow. Our role is to reach out to those who are supposedly on the “lower” scale of society. We are not to have categories of people that we reach out to in order to have gains for ourselves. We are to look past the external appearances and show them the kind of love that saved the world from eternal punishment. Challenge yourself not only in this christmas season but each day to reach out to those who are in need. The rich, the poor, the middle class, everyone is in need of the good news of Jesus Christ because Christ looks at the heart and loves each one.