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The messengers came with a question from John the Baptist: 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'

A simple 'Yes' or 'No' would have answered this question, but Jesus used it as a platform for stretching the understanding of the crowd that surrounded him.

Firstly, as answer to the question, he told John's messengers to tell John what they had seen and heard: the blind seeing, the lame walking, the dead living, and the good news being proclaimed.

From Jesus' point of view these things bore witness to his identity.

When John's messengers had left Jesus seemed to take the focus off himself and put it on John. Describing John's strange lifestyle Jesus then identified John as the one final prophet referred to by Malachi:

      • 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

But in referring to the prophets Jesus was actually answering John's question. Who was it that this long-expected messenger was preparing the way for? Isaiah tells us that the one whose way John prepared was none other than the God:

      • 'A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. '
      • 'The glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.'

The prophecies about John's coming identify the one who followed him as God, the LORD.

As Jesus stated elsewhere, there is ample witness to his identity: John the Baptist, the works that Jesus did, and the Scriptures.

Here is no ordinary man: here is our God.

Because of this Jesus said in his message to John 'Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.' Blessed is the man who does not stumble over the true identity of Jesus Christ.

If we stumble here, at this point of recognizing that Jesus is God, there is no other blessedness, there is no other hope, there is no other God.

Scriptures: Luke 7:18-35; Isaiah 40:3-5; John 5:31-40.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004, 2008