Start playing Looking at Jesus from Prison Walls by clicking on the red arrow.
Today’s slice of the bread of life, the Word of God, is Matthew 11:2-6:
John the Baptist, who was now in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you really the Messiah we’ve been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him about what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him: ‘God blesses those who are not offended by me.’ “
How different things must have looked to John behind the prison walls. If ever the phrase “free spirit” applied to anyone, it applied to John. He said what he wanted to say, without holding back.
Matthew records John’s first words as the proclamation that “the Kingdom of Heaven has come near” (Matthew 3:2). John’s mission was to prepare people because someone was coming who was “more powerful” than he was.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
John was sure that when this powerful person arrived, things would change. John expected that evil and corrupt people would be confronted. John’s words sound as if he thought evil itself would be destroyed, burned up like chaff in a fire as stated in verse 12. From where John sat behind those prison walls, the living chaff was still very much around. Things hadn’t worked out the way John expected. As an Essene, he thought his community worshiped God the right way, preserving the pure faith. He must have expected that when the powerful one came, he and his group would be vindicated. The corrupt leaders, like Herod, would be judged. Now he was the one subject to judgment. He was the one in prison…