Chapter 10- John Questions who Jesus really is.
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what 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:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’[c]
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence,[d] and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
John declared that Jesus was the Lamb of God and several followers of John followed Jesus to understand whom and what Jesus was all about. Before John the Baptist baptized Jesus, no one knew who Jesus was. Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist was like having a “coming our party or event.” Jesus made himself known to the world by being baptized by John the Baptist. John being a humble man did not want to baptize Jesus, but Jesus insisted and so it was. Jesus used this event as the event that marked the beginning of his mission. The followers of John the Baptist were in the thousands coming from all parts of Judea and elsewhere. By identifying with John the Baptist and agreeing by Baptism to become a follower of John the Baptist, Jesus reveals that he believes in Baptism and the remission of sin.
As fate would have it John the Baptist did not know when to stop verbally attacking Herod and he ended up being arrested. John the Baptist’s arrest set back his mission and perhaps the training of Jesus as to John’s philosophical view of sin and repentance. The followers of John thought that perhaps Jesus would get John out of jail, but that did not happen. John who praised Jesus when he was baptized, was a little shocked to see that Jesus began his ministry and was known to be going around Galilee healing the sick and baptizing many people like John did for the repentance of sin. Actually Jesus first disciples were doing all the baptizing while Jesus tended to heal the sick and small miracles. John proclaimed that he was not the Messiah but that he was the one who would point the way for one greater than himself.
With John in Jail his following was without a leader. Many turned to Jesus to follow and others question what Jesus’ message was all about. Even John was confused while in jail. For a moment John became a doubter and sent his followers to ask Jesus if he was the ONE or should they wait for another. Jesus felt this was a foolish request and sent word back that his actions spoke louder than his words. Jesus had in fact begun to heal the sick, baptize the sinners, and feed the poor. John longed for freedom to join with Jesus or continue on his ministry in baptism, but his pride and big mouth could not shut up about attacking Herod and his wife.
John thought that the Messiah would bring a military revolution over the Romans not just a religion revolution. Jesus stressed improving individuals and their faith in God. He did not care about the Romans for his ministry encompassed everyone regardless of religion or race. John and many others did not understand the concept of non-violent protesting, and passive resistance.
Jesus respected John and believed in most of his values. He spoke highly to all of his followers and John’s followers about John. He pointed out what a great prophet John was and what he had accomplished. The problem is Jesus did not feel it was in his power to free John and that it was God’s will that John remain in prison. By John being killed he became an early martyr and his name became well known for centuries to come. John’s martyrdom and his followers helped Jesus gain recognition more rapidly than had he try to gain a following on his own. Jesus and John became known as prophets that believed in baptism for the remission of sins. Jesus took the philosophy even further with the beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. John’s ministry was just the beginning and Jesus’ ministry was for all time to come.
Did Jesus know John the Baptist? Of course he and John met every year at the Passover festival in Jerusalem when their families traveled to the temple to celebrate the Passover. Jesus came from a devout Jewish family and so did John. John’s father was a Priest of the Temple and was well trained in the Bible and the religious practices of Judaism. As children their world centered on their religion and their families belief that their sons were blessed by God to be leaders among men.