Matthew 11:2-11 Reflection: Jesus and John the Baptist

A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 11:2-11

2 When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus
3 with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
4 Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
6 And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
7 As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
8 Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
9 Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
10 This is the one about whom it is written: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.
11 Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Pointers for Reflection
1. The coming of the Messiah was foretold in the Old Testament and during the time of Jesus, there was a very high expectation of His coming. Yet the people’s idea of a Messiah was limited to a powerful earthly king who can free them from foreign conquerors. However God does not work according to people’s expectation even if it is written in scriptures. Let this be an important lesson for all of us today. Let us never put God in a box especially with regards to His second or third coming!

2. Jesus states in verse 11 that no one “among those born of women is greater than John the Baptist”. On the other hand, He also claims that the “least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist”. This is because John did not live to see the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Although John the Baptist had been given the special role of announcing the coming of the Messiah and preparing His way, he too was a human being that can entertain some kinds of doubts. Anyway, he made the decision to verify who Jesus really was. In the same manner, those of us who did not physically witness the miracles of Jesus including His resurrection may sometimes struggle with our faith. Through prayers and with the help of people in the church, we can ask the Lord to reveal Himself to us and thus increase and strengthen our faith. We may be “the least” in the kingdom of heaven but we are more privileged than John the Baptist. Thanks be to God who grants the gift of faith to those who ask.

3. The gospel passage above especially verse 5 is very clear about the mission of Jesus: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them”. So when Jesus tells us to follow Him, He is telling us to continue His mission. In other words, His ministry is also our ministry. As it was during His time on earth, the world today is still divided into the haves and the have-nots. Most especially in matters of spirituality, many people are blind and deaf. Many people are too lame to go to church. A lot have died in their faith and due to poverty, people are denied the basic necessities of life. Jesus is calling us to carry on His mission most especially to the last, the least and the lost.

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