Matthew – Fulfilled
We had asked a pastor who was an artist to come and speak to our congregation. Everyone was looking forward to this event. This pastor had an unuusal style about him which drew him to Randy and I immediately. Before he spoke, as the piano or organ played, he put up an empty canvas and began to paint. In a few minutes, he created a work of art. People were amazed at his talent. The congregation were then engaged in his message proclaiming the redeemption of Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was another unusal prophet who proclaimed the Kingdom of God is here. He wore animal skins and lived on honey and wild locusts, living very minimally in the desert which drew crowds of curiosty seekers. People came to hear a new message from an unusal man from all the surrounding towns. He eventually peaked the interest of the religious leaders. These same leaders finally had him jailed. John’s followers were lost without him even though he spoke of the ONE who would come after him. John sent his followers to Jesus for confirmation with the question, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting or are we still waiting?”
Maybe this is a good reflective question for all of us to ask ourselves as a growth indicator of our trust. Dear Jesus, are you the One I am placing all my trust and hope in and giving all my life to for your glory? Do I believe you are “Kingdom come”?
Matthew 11, The Message
John the Baptizer
11 When Jesus finished placing this charge before his twelve disciples, he went on to teach and preach in their villages.
2-3 John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?”
4-6 Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!”
7-10 When John’s disciples left to report, Jesus started talking to the crowd about John. “What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A weekend camper? Hardly. What then? A sheik in silk pajamas? Not in the wilderness, not by a long shot. What then? A prophet? That’s right, a prophet! Probably the best prophet you’ll ever hear. He is the prophet that Malachi announced when he wrote, ‘I’m sending my prophet ahead of you, to make the road smooth for you.’
11-14 “Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s kingdom. But if you read the books of the Prophets and God’s Law closely, you will see them culminate in John, teaming up with him in preparing the way for the Messiah of the kingdom. Looked at in this way, John is the ‘Elijah’ you’ve all been expecting to arrive and introduce the Messiah.
15 “Are you listening to me? Really listening?
16-19 “How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Let’s think about this…
Are we listening? Really listening?
Are we “spoiled children” who want our needs met as we see them without seeking the face of God through Jesus Christ, His Son?
Could someone build a temple and forget why? Could someone construct a palace, yet forget the king? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves often and wait for an answer.
The next time you enter an assembly of worship, position yourself where you can see the people. Then decide.
“You can tell the ones who remember the slain one. They’re wide-eyed and expectant. They’re children watching and the unwrapping of a gift. They’re servants standing still as a king passes. You don’t doze in the presence of royalty. And you don’t yawn while receiving a gift, especially when the giver is the king himself!” (Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven)
“You can also tell the ones who see only the temple. Their eyes wander. Their feet shuffle. Their hands doodle, and their mouths open–not to sing, but to yawn. For no matter how hard they try to stay amazed, their eyes start to glaze over. All temples even the Taj Mahal, lose their luster after a while.” (Still Max)
Yes, we are either temple builders or Savior seekers. You’ll find them both in the same church, on the same pew–at times, even in the same suit. One sees the structure and says, “Oh what a great church.” The others sees the Savior and says, “Oh what a great Christ!”
Which One do you see?
Dear Heavenly Father, we are all sinners saved by your grace. We are sinners and saints in the same clothing. We repent of times of seeing only structure while missing you pass by. Thank you for reminding us that You are the One we are looking for…the wait is over. In Jesus Name, Amen