John the Baptist while at prison sends two of his disciples to Jesus with a question that seemed to be bothering him (Luke 7:19). He had heard accounts of Jesus’ healing ministry, the more recent ones being the widow of Nain’s son brought back to life and the healing of the Centurion’s servant. Instead of relating these updates on Jesus’ ministry with His calling as ‘Savior of the World’, John doubts if Jesus is really the one all Israel awaited, the coming Messiah.
This is a very unlikely question especially from John who not only baptized Jesus but also bore witness to His identity as none else had at that time. When Jesus was baptized at the Jordan it was John who first saw the heavens open and a voice proclaim ‘This is my beloved Son. In Him I am well pleased’ (Luke 3:22; Mark 1:10,11; Matt 3:17; John 1:32-34). It was John who told the crowds that followed him, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ pointing to Jesus (John 1:29). It was John who even let two of his disciples follow Jesus instead of Him (John 1: 35-39). It was this very same John who asked ‘Are you the one to come or should we wait for someone else?’
Why did John, who was the fore runner of Jesus, the one who prepared the way for the Messiah doubt Jesus? Was it his time in prison, being cut off from main stream living? Was it a lack of faith? There was no doubt a seed of doubt and a sharp remark in John’s question. He almost seemed to suggest that Jesus better own up or come out with who He was.
Jesus on His part answers John’s question by directing the gaze of the two disciples to all the miracles they witnessed that day (Luke 7:21,22). The blind received sight, the deaf could hear, the lame walked, lepers were cured, the dead brought to life and the Gospel was preached to the poor. Jesus asks John’s disciples to tell him just what they saw.
Jesus’ answer to this question like many others that were posed to Him is unique and certainly not what was expected of Him. The question ‘Are you the one to come?’ needed a straightforward yes or no. But Jesus answers by showing His day’s ministry. This was because every single thing Jesus did that particular day was a fulfillment of the prophesy concerning the coming Savior of the world, the Messiah as recorded in Isaiah 61:1, 35:5&6, 29:18.
John knew the prophesy about the Messiah too well yet seemed to have a problem in equating what he heard about Jesus with the prophesies he believed in. Jesus bridges the gap and sends him a reminder rather than an answer.
Jesus wanted to ‘show’ Himself as the Savior of the World, not ‘tell’. He lived out and fulfilled every Old Testament prophesy about Him as the Messiah, including His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection.
He was a leader unlike any other. He never worked to get a following. The crowds gathered to hear Him on their own. He never preached to the rich, famous and affluent. His audience was the weak, the sick, the poor and the outcasts. He never conformed to worldly patterns. He worked on a heavenly pattern. He never lived to rule like a famous King of the world who would die down in history. He chose to die and in giving up His life and taking it up again, He proved that He was King of Kings whose rule never ends. Jesus is indeed the Savior of the World.