Knowing the Mission and Purpose of the King
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto Him, Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Matthew 11:1-6 (KJV)
In chapter ten Jesus has sent His disciples out to minister the Word of God and declare the message of the King. In the first verse of this chapter we find Jesus preaching and ministering alone. He has given commandment and sends the twelve out. In the first verse we are told, “He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. “Their cities” would be speaking of the cities of those He had just sent, of course.
John the Baptist, a prophet truly in the Old Testament sense, would know the message of the prophets. He knows, especially the ones of the coming Messiah. He, being a man, and a sinner like the rest of us would have had some preconceived notions concerning the Messiah; somewhat like his Jewish teachers. For instance he must have believed that the Messiah was going to come and free the nation of Israel from Roman rule. These preconceived notions would cause him to doubt. Preconceived notions of Scripture will cause doubt.
The Baptist has been imprisoned for his faithfulness to God’s call. He preached telling Herod he should not have his brothers wife (Matthew 4:12; 14:3-12). John’s notion was most likely that Jesus as the King of the Jews would set up His kingdom. His assumption was correct, however, his timing was millenniums away; ie., His earthly kingdom.
Since John was imprisoned he was unable to question Jesus personally and sends his disciples. He is showing faith by sending his disciples, and by seeking confirmation. An understanding of Jesus’s mission and ministry would end the doubt and the confusion for John.
To know our own mission and ministry for Christ will give us peace of mind. Every individual believer, every church needs a mission and purpose for being, and we find that in Jesus Christ, and His Word.
John’s question is one we could probably ask at times. “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Can we truly understand John’s dilemma? I think so. When he has been believing that he was preaching the way of the Messiah, then, he winds up in lock up, because he preached against Herod’s adultery, he is surely wondering, “Have I been preaching the right stuff? Is this man whom I have proclaimed really the One?” By his faith, he sends his disciples to ask Him. He did not send them to ask the religious leaders. He knew the answer he would get there. He believed Jesus would be the only one who would have the correct answer. He must have trusted, by what he had seen and heard, that Jesus was truthful, and that His word could be trusted. Jesus would not lie about His own identity. Sometimes doubt is a sign of growth, if you are really seeking the truth. Was this man, Jesus, the Messiah; the long awaited One by the Jews?
The question asked by John, which was born of doubt is answered by Jesus. To answer, Jesus had only to use the Old Testament Scripture. When Jesus gave them the words of Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:4-6; 61:1-2a John would be satisfied with the answer, and the doubt was resolved. Being a prophet he would have been very acquainted with these verses, which are prophecies of the Messiah. He would trust the Scriptures in the identity of Jesus, and the evidence that He gave as well. The evidence was what Scriptures said the Messiah would do, and Jesus was doing it.
The mission of Jesus was to help the afflicted. Those who were afflicted physically, economically and spiritually were aided and blessed by the touch of Jesus. The works He performed were evidence of who He is/was. We must keep in mind that the works we perform are a testimony of who we are. The power Christians have over man made religion is a living Savior who overcame the power of sin. Man made religion binds men to man made laws. Christians are not bound to law, but to the One who fulfilled the law, thus, able to live His life.
John knowing the Prophets and their prophecies recognized the mission of Jesus when it was told to him. Jesus’s ministry was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). His ministry was one of offense. He touched the unclean and the defiled. He ministered to “Tax collectors and sinners”, and that offended the religious leaders. He rebuked the religious establishment and their self-righteousness.
The King’s mission was to die, that all who repent and believe could be saved. The ultimate goal of King Jesus was/is to fulfill all the Word of God.
-by Tim A. Blankenship