Matthew 11:3-5 NIV
to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The 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.
John, the baptizer, got thrown in prison. He was born with a prophecy that he would be the prophet preparing the way for the messiah. He was told, by an angel, that he would see the Lamb of God. Even more, that he would baptize the Lamb of God. And he saw that prophecy come true when he baptized Jesus.
But then he got thrown in prison. The messiah was supposed to bring the kingdom and set things right, not get his prophet thrown in jail. So John sends some of his followers to make sure. “Maybe we should ask him, just in case.”
And Jesus responds, “go tell John what you see. People are healed. Demons are cast out. Dead people live. Who does that make me?”
Sitting here, it’s easy to read the Bible and think, “man, those guys are dense. If I saw Jesus walking around, I’d recognise him for sure.”
But how often do I question God when things don’t go right in my life? It’s easy to praise God when everything is great and I’m at church and my favorite worship song is being played. But it is stinkin’ hard to praise God and trust Him when I follow him and my life gets harder. It us hard to trust God when it seems like the more I do things like Jesus, the worse things get.
And I don’t just mean like having people give you a hard time. I mean like when you start to tithe faithfully and suddenly that extra bill hits. I mean like getting involved in church and then having problems in seemingly every human relationship you have. I mean like Christians overseas today that are jailed or killed for their faith. It’s hard to be faithful in those situations. You start to wonder…
And then you read the words of Paul, when he was in prison:
Philippians 1:12-14 NIV
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
His chains (literal chains! He was in prison…) are moving the gospel forward! And he thanks God for his chains! Not because it’s fun to be in jail. But because he knows what the power and message of Christ is.
The 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.
God, I want to be like Paul. Let me be the guy who gets excited about what you are doing no matter where I end up. Let me be the one who sees a ministry when thrown in jail. May I be a man who finds new places to share your word when I am silenced in one place. May I never lose sight of your goodness. Because its not based on my circumstances. You are good. All the time. You are good. Amen.