Bible Challenge Day 12 – Genesis 31-33; Psalm 11; Matthew 11
In the reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew, appointed for today through the Bible Challenge, we encounter two of John’s disciples questioning Jesus. Upon answering their question, He then addresses the crowd – challenging them to consider what they themselves believe about John, and thus about Him. He warns them by presenting them with His condemnation to those who failed to hear the prophecy of the Kingdom and repent. Finally, he concludes by exhorting the multitudes to come to Him and submit themselves to the Kingdom of God that they might find that which their souls are seeking.
Many people are confused by this question because modern translations make it seem as if the question came from the Baptist. As such, it seems as if John the Baptist – who prophesied of the Messiah and declared himself unworthy to baptize Jesus – was confused as to the identity of the Christ. The Church Fathers state that John sent his disciples to Jesus in order to point them to Jesus: for as the Baptist said in the Gospel of John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” He sent his disciples to Jesus that they might become followers of Christ. In their skepticism (and distrust of their master, the Baptist), they pose the question. They are then challenged to return to return to the Baptist and bear witness to Christ.
In this time of denominational decline, people are skeptical – yet seeking those who represent the Coming One. They approach the Church and ask: “Are you those who represent the Coming One, or do we look for another?” How can we answer – how must we answer?
We are confronted by Jesus’ answer, and we must ask ourselves: “By our witness, do the blind see and the lame walk? Have those deemed unclean been cleansed…do the deaf hear? Are the spiritually, emotionally, socially dead raised up and have the poor had the true good news preached to them?”
It’s no wonder the masses don’t find in us an authentic witness…it’s no wonder they “look for another.”
And as they walk away from the Church, our Lord compels us to ask: “What do we go into the wilderness to see? What do we go into the Concrete Jungle everyday to see?”
Truly, beloved, the living out there is hard! And amidst this violence, the Kingdom itself breaks through “violently” (Matt. 11:12, 10:34). We, therefore, ought act with force against the powers that assault the people of God, “exerting all earnestness and desire to enter the reality of the Kingdom. For this martyrs shed their blood, making their confession of faith, being ‘made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men’ (1 Cor. 4:9). The Kingdom of Heaven belongs not to the sleeping or lazy. Rather, the violent take it by force.” May we be diligent in our fight to usher in the Kingdom of God that His children might recognize the Coming One! Amen!