“And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard’” (Luke 7:22). |
John the Baptist, about whom Jesus Christ said that he was “a burning and shining lamp” (John 5:35), was suffering in jail for spreading the truth. Being an honest and incorruptible witness of God, John angered the sinful king by exposing his wrong deeds. The king, who before had enjoyed listening to John, took John’s freedom away and put him in jail. As long as John did not say anything bad about the king, he was ready to hear him out. But as soon as the truthful word of God’s accusation was directed at his sinful life, the king became an enemy of God’s messenger, John.
The same happens today as well. People listen to God’s word as long as it’s not directed against their own sins. As soon as they start sensing any signs of accusation, they refuse to repent and turn away from sin—and get angry and blame the Gospel. John the Baptist accepted the unfair sentence passed on him, because behind the king’s tyranny he saw God’s will. Nevertheless, at times many doubts went through John’s mind. His sorrowful disciples went and told Jesus about everything.
Jesus had great confidence in John. He knew that the troubles would go away and one day, after all the difficulties of life had run their course, eternal glory will follow. Jesus knew that John’s strong spirit was more concerned about the matters of God’s Kingdom than about the matters of his own life. So, Jesus sent the disciples back to John saying: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” These are the signs of God’s Kingdom, which John came to spread. And what is the word for those who suffer? “And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me,” said Jesus.
Our Lord knew that John would not fall victim to temptation; that he would stand to the very end; and therefore He called him “blessed.” After John’s disciples left, Jesus continued to speak to people concerning John. He is “more than a prophet,” Jesus said; he is the one of whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
What a prized servant of God John the Baptist was! He would not fall into temptation, even when the way out could not be seen. He would suffer and die for the truth. Even today, twenty centuries later, we marvel at the faith and endurance of those who suffer in prison for their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. They will be comforted by the word of His everlasting love!