Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Matthew 11

12 Jan

Continuing to go through the book of Matthew looking at one chapter a day and offering a thought, question, or quote. Today it is Matthew 11:

11:4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.

When John the Baptist was in prison he had to be confused. From what we know in Matthew 3 and the other gospels, Jesus was the Messiah, and as the Messiah it meant that the kingdom of God was breaking in. But if it was breaking in why was John in prison. Why did things get worse? So John sends disciples to Jesus to ask if he is really the one we’ve been waiting for.

Notice Jesus doesn’t say “yes.” Instead he answers with the implications of the gospel breaking in: blind seeing, lame walking, those with leprosy cured, the deaf are now hearing and the poor are the first people in on the good new. Jesus points to community as the final apologetic. Can we?

We can have book smarts and argue for our faith and we can tell convincing, tear jerking stories to try to convince people to believe or we can point to the good news of the kingdom breaking in within our community. And that seems to be the most powerful apologetic. Lesslie Newbigen said it best:

“I confess that I have come to feel the primary reality of which we have to take account in seeking for a Christian impact on public life is the Christian congregation. How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men wand women who believe it and live by it…Evangelistic campaigns, distribution of Bibles and Christian literature, conferences, and even books such as this one…are all secondary, and…they have power to accomplish their purpose only as they are rooted in and lead back to a believing community. Jesus…did not write a book but formed a community.”-Lesslie Newbigin

Matthew 3

4 Jan

Continuing going through the book of Matthew one chapter a day with one thought for the day. Today is Matthew chapter 3

3:3
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
This sounds to many like “have a good cry and get religion.” However, stripping away the cultural baggage we’ve attached over 2 millennium leaves you with something closer to:
“Here comes God’s new world: Turn around and face it”

Will be teaching on this later this month.