Daily Devotion, 01/11/18, “Not What I Expected”
“The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’” Luke 7:18-19 NLT
This was a strange question for John the Baptist to have his men ask Jesus. John the Baptist, after all, was Jesus’ cousin. He no doubt had known for his entire life about Jesus’ birth with the stories of the angels, the wise men, the shepherds, and all that. John’s mother, Elizabeth, surely told him about how he jumped inside her when she was pregnant with him and Mary came to visit. John even made proclamations at Jesus’ baptism that seem to indicate his belief in Him. But now, as Jesus starts getting into his ministry, John seems like he has doubts about Jesus really being the Messiah. Why do you think that was? Perhaps it was because Jesus didn’t act like what John thought a Messiah ought to act like. In fact, John may have even wondered if Jesus was really a Christian! (If the “Christ” can also be called that.)
Think about it. John was somber and serious. Jesus was more carefree and lighthearted. John was condemning. Jesus was full of grace. John believed in following the religious rules of the day. Jesus frequently broke them. John lived a monastic life in the wilderness, mostly alone. Jesus spent a lot of time with crowds and at social events. John was doom and gloom. Jesus was life and peace. John irritated the crowds and he loved it. Jesus inspired the crowds and they loved Him. Maybe John thought Jesus was too at ease among the scum of the earth to really be sent from heaven. John needed some reassurance so he asked, “Are you really the Messiah?” Jesus absolutely was, he just wasn’t the kind of Messiah John expected.
There’s a good lesson in that passage for us. Many people see Christians as being more like John: harsh, judgmental and angry. Let’s change that. May we seek to inspire rather than to irritate. May we seek to lift and encourage rather than to condemn and accuse. May we be light and hope rather than doom and gloom. May we be grace and mercy rather than judgement and wrath. We can change how those in our circle see Jesus if we let them see who and how He really is through us. The real Messiah may not at all be what they were expecting, but He is exactly what they need. You are loved!