After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Jesus has preached an incredible sermon, with life-changing instructions. Matthew then demonstrated that Jesus holds authority and passed this authority to His friends, sending them out to preach the gospel. Then, Jesus goes back to teaching and preaching.
That’s when we hear the big question. John’s question forms the summation of this entire week: Who is this man? Could He be the Messiah? Is Jesus the One?
There certainly is reason to think so. Jesus is doing the things Isaiah said the one from God would do. And as we learned on Monday, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Isaiah was attempting to peer into the future and “foretell.” Instead, Isaiah described what God wanted all of us to do—and in Jesus we find this obedience personified. As we read on Wednesday, Isaiah promised good news for the poor, deliverance for the oppressed, healing for the sick, sight for the blind.
So, Jesus responds rhetorically, as if to say “Well, you know what to look for. What do you see? The blind see, the lame walk, the sick are healed, the dead are raised, and good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
“What did you come out to see, a prophet?” Jesus asks. “Yes, and more than a prophet.”
Jesus came to earth and proclaimed the same message as the prophets before Him: God wants justice and shalom in this world, healing and wholeness in our communities. And then Jesus did that work. Long before He ever died on the cross or rose from the tomb, Jesus proclaimed and lived the gospel, the good news for the poor. Jesus was a prophet, yes—and more than a prophet.
Will we listen? Will we rearrange our lives according to God’s heart and Jesus’ teaching? Is our gospel good news for the poor?
Questions for reflection and discussion: What have you learned this week, and how will you respond? Will you rearrange your life according to God’s heart and Jesus’ teaching? Is the gospel you proclaim good news for the poor?