Jesus' Witness to John

Today's Bible reading: Matthew 11:7-15

And what was Jesus’ witness to John?  Jesus Himself confirms John's prophetic role.  The questions John asks while he is in prison seem to suggest that some doubt has crept into his mind as to whether Jesus is the fulfillment of his prophecies.  The answer is clear: the signs of the Kingdom as promised by Isaiah have arrived.  As our Gospel reading says, John is no fragile reed … no pampered prince: He is a rugged prophet – and more than that.  He is the new Elijah sent to prepare the way of the Lord.

For all his greatness, John is still “below” one who is least in the Kingdom – that is: prophecy is not the same as fulfillment.  And yet the John the Baptist belongs to the Kingdom of God in a special way.  His violent death at the hands of a violent king points to the truth that the Kingdom will always be opposed by some – just as we see today.  Jesus’ words in verse 12 are thus a prophecy not only of John's death but also of His own.

God sent John as His special prophet to prepare the way for the coming Messiah … to tell the people to get ready for the coming King. And now the Kingdom of God has come in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

So what does that mean for us today?  How do we prepare ourselves to meet our King?  How are we to act as citizens of God's kingdom – a citizenship that became ours through the waters of Holy Baptism?

We ready ourselves the same way: through daily repentance … by living out our Baptism and returning to the promises that were made to us there … by receiving God’s gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation given to us through His Holy Supper … by bearing the good fruit of faith in our lives, which God has blessed us to produce.  Repent … believe … live in and share the good news that yours in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I struggle with doubts and unfulfilled hopes, remind me of Your Word and works that assure me of Your saving love.  Amen.