Again, there is so much in this chapter to think about I had a hard time choosing. I would like to hear from some of you who focused on other parts of the chapter. What are some of your thoughts or prayers? Here are my thoughts...
Scripture: John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" Luke 7.20
Observations: John the Baptist had been languishing in prison since he boldly spoke out against Herod Antipas (Luke 3.19-20). Although John had been confident of Jesus' identity as the Messiah, he now was needing reassurance, so he sent his disciples to Jesus to get some answers. Perhaps the loneliness of prison and fear that he may be killed caused John to doubt. Or perhaps John was expecting Jesus to be more confrontational like he was, pronouncing judgment upon the sins of the king and the fallen nation. The time for judgment, however, would come in due time, now was the time for salvation. Jesus' answer to John pointed to the ways in which Jesus was doing the things that the prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would be doing: "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, he deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." (See also Isaiah 35:5-6, 61:1)
Apply: Loneliness, fear, suffering, and persecution can cause the best of us to doubt our faith in Jesus. If Jesus came to set the prisoners free, why did John remain in prison? We hear stories of the miracles Jesus does for others, but when they don't happen for us we begin to doubt. When that happens it is good to remember that Jesus not only works through miracles, healings and help for the poor, he also works through suffering. John the Baptist's preaching and subsequent persecution set the stage for the people to reject the world's kind of kingdom as typified by Herod and accept and enter the kind of kingdom as typified by Jesus the Messiah, the Kingdom of God.
Pray: Jesus, when things don't go the way I expect them to go, or when you don't seem to fit my expectations, encourage me by helping me to remember the things you are about; and may I be willing to do whatever it takes for the others to see your kingdom on display in my life, whether in good times or in bad.