That is, John was reading the script where Messiahs would do grand and amazing things, but he is realizing that it wasn’t happening. John was expecting Jesus to do something revolutionary, like dethrone Herold and get him out of prison, but that wasn’t happening either. And John was expecting Jesus to bring his powerful kingdom to bear on Israel’s sins and set the whole place ablaze with God’s winnowing fire, just as the prophet Elijah had done with the prophets of Baal, but that also wasn’t happening.
John is beginning to wonder if he had made a mistake trusting Jesus. Hence, the question to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3).
John is expecting action and deliverance, but what he gets from Jesus is a strange response. Jesus tells John’s disciples:
"Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news delivered to them. And blessed are those who take no offense at me."
But what John was wondering was whether he had been missed something: after all, Jesus was also going around befriending tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19). Jesus was being accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:18). And Jesus was gaining a reputation, but not for what John (and many others) were anticipating.
During Advent, what are we expecting God to do? Who is it we are truly waiting for? How may God confound our expectations?
As we approach Christmas, may God surprise us with grace and truth?
Pastor Andy Kinsey