And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Luke 7:20-23)
These men sent by John the Baptist came with a very good question. They desired to know if He was the Messiah of whom John was the forerunner, or if they should be looking for another. There is a genuine motivation to know if He is the One, because they wanted to follow only the true Messiah and not be led astray after someone else.
Yes, No, Maybe So?
I do wonder if these men who came to Jesus expected a straightforward answer through, such as “Yes, I am He” or “No, go look for another”. Yet the answer they got required discernment, wisdom, and knowledge of prophecies regarding the Messiah to actually know the answer was that yes, Jesus truly is the Messiah they had been looking forward to and the One John the Baptist had been preparing the way for.
When Jesus read from the scroll in the synagogue and said that it had been fulfilled in their hearing He had read from Isaiah: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1)
And as Jesus told the disciples from John to tell them what they’ve seen and heard, it would require knowledge of more prophecy in Isaiah to understand that Jesus was indeed affirming His deity: Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. (Isaiah 35:4-6)
He gave them a very clear answer, but to the undiscerned, it may have seemed cryptic.
Hearing God’s Answer
This can bear true today when we pray and ask God questions. Sometimes it may seem as if God is being cryptic when we ask Him things simply because we don’t get an answer that’s as clear as an audible voice telling us the answer plainly. Yet, if in the midst of our lack of understanding, we need to continue to press in and abide in Him, asking for wisdom and discernment, and trust that He will open our eyes and give us understanding.
King Solomon gave insight to this in Proverbs 1:2-7:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
As well as in James we read that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
If you find yourself a bit confused as you receive answers from the Lord, don’t be anxious; be strong, fear not, continue to abide, and ask for wisdom to discern what He’s speaking to you. He is not a God of confusion, and He delights in revealing Himself to you. Fear the Lord, it truly is the beginning of knowledge!