We can’t really know why John the Baptist sent his messengers to Jesus, to ask whether he was indeed the Messiah. In the solitude of his prison cell, was he really starting to doubt – the same John who recognised Jesus in the womb?
It would be wrong to utterly dismiss that as a possibility. I am sure that all believers doubt at times – their faith guttering like a candle in a draught. Mine wavers. There have been dark moments when I truly questioned where God was. The trick, though, is to try keeping so close to him that you never have to wonder.
John the Baptist, I’m certain, was much better at that than the likes of me.
I favour a different explanation. It is possible that he sent his men to ask Jesus, not because he doubted, but because he feared that they might.
Jesus, of course, doesn’t always answer the question put to him. Nonetheless, we can be sure of receiving the response we need to hear. In this case, Jesus pointed to the best evidence he had of his status as Messiah: his own works, done in his own power and on his own authority. Who else but the true Son of God could accomplish this?
This morning, I am grateful that this is the Messiah. Here is authority; here is might; here is glory.
But, oh my word, here too is compassion.
Not only is the Lord walking among the very lowliest in society, and healing those shunned by others, but see how he deals with them. Jesus is astonished by the faith of the centurion; Jesus takes pity on the weeping widow.
Jesus does. The Son of God.
Imagine your faith astonishing, or your tears moving, the heart of the second person of the godhead?
Stop imagining. It is so. This is our Saviour; we need look for no other.