Today’s text is Matthew 11:2-6. John the Baptist, in prison, gets disciples of his to find Jesus and ask Jesus if he is “the one who is to come” or not.
(Note: “the one who is to come” is from Malachi 3–4, and it is possible that Jesus actually says “no, I’m not that one who is to come. I’m someone else; you can find me in Isaiah, John.”)
Jesus answers John’s query. What is very important here is this: Jesus is, in effect, telling John the purpose of his very mission. Here are his words:
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
5 the blind receive their sight,
the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have good news brought to them.
6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.â€
1. What Jesus is doing is visible.
2. Jesus is restoring the marginalized back into the society.
3. Kingdom work means giving sight, enabling to walk, cleansing lepers, giving hearing back, raising the dead, and giving good news to the poor (=Anawim; think Mary; think Beatitudes).
4. Kingdom works centers around Jesus himself (verse 6).
The Magnificat, the inaugural sermon, the Beatitudes and the response to John in prison: all the same. The Kingdom of God is concerned with creating a society in which injustices are undone, in which all persons are welcomed to the table, and in which Jesus is the host at the table.
Let us reflect for a moment on the significance of these texts. The Magnificat declares the heart-felt yearing of Mary; the inaugural sermon sets out what Jesus’ mission will be, and it will be shaped by the prophecies of Isaiah; the Beatitudes declare who it is that will be found in the Kingdom; the response to John announces how Jesus understands what he is doing and what it means — and again, he refers back to three texts from Isaiah (29; 35; 61).
The Kingdom of God vision of Jesus was about a society in which God’s will would finally be established and which would empower all people to sit at his table in joy.
Tomorrow, we jump ahead to Acts 2 and 4 to see what this Kingdom society looks like after Pentecost.