Tuesday, December 14, 2010


So John summoned two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" 20 When the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?'" 21 Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. 22 And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."

1. The fact that John sends messengers to Jesus proves John’s faith in Jesus. This answers those who think that John had lost confidence in Jesus and doubted as our modern doubt with disbelief. John’s doubt was of an altogether different kind; it was induced by a difficulty that his faith met. It was a doubt that was due to faith.

2. Jesus was to do all the great Messianic works, first those of grace (3: 3-6) and then those of judgement (3:9). Thus John believed, preached and expected the Messiah. But as Jesus went on with his work, this seemed to be nothing but grace without one single act of judgement.

3. The mastery of the answer lies in the fact that it takes John right back into the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, which had caused his perplexity. The reference to the blind, the deaf and the lame is adapted from Is 35: 5,6. Jesus does works of grace that are even greater than those that were promised by the prophet.

4. Wounds and evil spirits: wounds can also mean plagues, but Luke joins both physical and spiritual healing. Luke uses the word (charizo – to gift) for the healing of the blind.

5. There must have been many thus afflicted. These were days when knowledge of the cause of blindness was about at the zero level, when the importance of sanitary conditions was not as yet appreciated, and when preventive measures had not as yet been discovered. All this indicates how great a Saviour was, and is Jesus. We cannot give any other scientific explanation but accept it by faith.

When things do not go according to our expectation it naturally gives rise to doubt. John the Baptist who rightly acknowledged the Messiah and His mission, has a little doubt now. The doubt does not weaken his faith but only strengthens it. He goes in for clarification through his disciples. Our faith should not be a blind faith. We need to be educated in our faith. We should ask several questions and try to understand the mystery of God. Of course when our reason fails, the faith takes over. Doubts unsolved or not-clarified can strain our relationship with God as well with our fellow human beings.

Interpretation of Matthew’s gospel - Lenski
The Pulpit Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series

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