NOT QUITE WHAT WE EXPECT
Take a deep breath in and out, and consciously put aside busy thoughts. Pray for the Spirit to help you hear the Lord speaking.
Read Matthew 11:1–19
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat preparations do you make for holidays or guests?
Preparations for special occasions can sometimes be more fun than the event itself. The anticipation, the planning, the delayed gratification can be wonderful, for example, in our household when preparing for Christmas!
But imagine doing all the preparations yet not knowing exactly what the event looks like, or when it is or where. John the Baptist had been called to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah (10) but without knowing exactly what that would look like. He preached a message of preparation through repentance; people had responded and been baptized (3:1–10). But later, after Jesus had been preaching and teaching for a while, and John himself was in prison, John seemed puzzled and surprised (3). Why do you think he sent this question to Jesus?
Jesus had just declared he had not come to bring peace but a sword, which would cause division (10:34–42). What did Jesus say that showed that the kingdom of God was actually better than had been hoped for (4–6)? He doesn’t always do what people assume and expect. He brings grace, mercy, healing and a blessing for those who are not upset by that (6)
How might you prepare for the return of Jesus even though we don’t quite know what that will be like? What would you do differently if today were our last day on earth?
Lord, make me aware of Your imminence today. Open my eyes to see how fragile life can be and how You wish me to spend my days.