Click here for the reading: Matthew 11:2-10.
John the Baptist, even while in prison, hears people talking about the miracles of Jesus. Though Jesus taught with authority and not like the scribes, yet it is what he does that attracts the most attention. Jesus even answers John’s question sent through his disciples with miracles rather than simply words. Why are miracles so important to the message of the Gospel? What is their purpose, even for us who only hear about them thousands of years later? Since Revelation 13 shows us that false miracles are possible, how do we know which are genuine? Compare the words of Jesus in John 10:37-38 regarding the purpose of true miracles.
Jesus finishes his answer to John by saying, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” In what ways are people offended by Jesus? Do we try to soften Jesus’ words and actions in order to make him more palatable? What are some common examples of this? How does Jesus respond to grumbling in John 6? How should that inform our own response to those offended by Him?
After the disciples leave, Jesus questions those following Him about John. Who is he? What was his purpose? John, after all, is in prison now, and his time has come to an end. What does Jesus mean by “a reed shaken by the wind”? Do we see examples of this in our lives? How do we avoid that behavior? What does he mean by “a man dressed in soft clothing”? How do we avoid that problem as well? Why do these not describe John the Baptist, and why is that important when considering his message? Consider the example of the sons of Josiah in Jeremiah 22 and what it means to be righteous in God’s eyes.
John is a prophet, and indeed he is more than a prophet. He exceeds the prophets of old, because he prepares the way of the Lord directly. The other prophets only spoke of His coming and longed for His day, but John pointed to Him with his own hand. Why is it important to understand who John is? Why is it important to rightly understand the mission of any of the prophets, apostles, or even pastors of the Church? What is at risk if it is misunderstood? How does Ephesians 4:1-16 help us understand the work of those whom God has sent?
Among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John, but the least in the kingdom is greater than he. The old has given way to the new, and the new is greater by far. In what ways do we who live in the time of the New Testament exceed those who lived in the time of the Old? What does that mean for how we approach the Old Testament? How does Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 clarify the greater glory of the ministry of the Spirit?