We are studying people who came near to Jesus but still almost missed recognizing him as the Messiah. First up is John the Baptist (Luke 3:7-9).
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Later in Luke 7, John the Baptist finds himself locked up in prison about to be beheaded.
Luke 7:20: When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
In other words, Swing that ax…they are about to kill me! It’s time for judgement, Jesus!
Jesus’ reply: At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 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. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
In other words: ‘I am not who you think I am’. ‘I’ve come to give life not to take life’.
Luke 7:28: “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Jesus’ warning to John the Baptist and those of us who are wired to be aggressive and radical in our faith, be careful.
John the Baptist almost, missed the Messiah because he thought Jesus would be more militant & aggressive . . . but he was a giver of life not taker of it. To find Jesus, we have to look for someone who gives health and life to those who draw near.
Next time, we will look at Simon the Pharisee in Finding Jesus – Part 2.