“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

“After John heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that is coming, or shall we expect another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and tell John again what things ye hear and see: blind men see again, and lame men walk; lepers are cleansed, and deaf men hear; dead men are raised up, and poor men have the gospel preached to them; and blessed is anyone that shall not be scandalized in me” (Matt. 11 :2-6).

John the whom Baptist knew heavenly well enough that Jesus was the beloved Son of God in whom the heavenly Father had shown His good will; that He was the Iamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world; that He was destined to baptize some men in Holy Spirit, and others in fire unquenchable; that He was above and over all, the Lord of everything. Thus John the Baptist was well acquainted with the Lord and bore witness of him repeatedly before the people and before his disciple of whom some believed and followed behind the Lord, while others, failing to be convinced stubbornly and jealously insisted upon remaining with John as may be seen in the third chapter of his gospel. So for their sake, and not at all for his own, but simply in order to guide them like a bride to the bridegroom Christ, being himself the “best man,” as he says elsewhere (John 3 :29), he had the kindness to end two of them to Jesus to ask whether He was the one expected, so that they might be assured by their own eyes and, having believed, be saved. That this is the truth of the matter is verified by the splendid eulogy bestowed upon John by Jesus before the multitude directly after the departure of His disciples. “And as they departed”, the Evangelist Matthew continues, “Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothes are in the houses of kings. But what went ye out to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For he is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater one than John the Baptist; yet he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to accept him, he is the Elijah who was destined to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:7-15). So it was not for himself that John sent the two of his disciples, but imply because they had refused to lis­ten to him, he sent them in order to let them be persuaded by their own perception to adhere to Jesus.

The occasion, however, was one that a most convincing, one sufficient to inform all men, except the callous, that the Messiah expected to come was Jesus. The disciples of John were a king whether He was the one expected. Jesus did not tell the incredulous ones directly that he was the Messiah, but in regard to this He pointed out to them their hearing and sight as two witnesses which would supply them with evidence drawn from His gospel sayings and His beneficent deeds and confirmed by what had previously been written concerning the marks of indentification or the true Messiah. Go, He told them, and tell John about the things that ye hear and the things that ye see, about the cures of the sick, the resurrection of the dead, the gospels of poor men; and He told them, “Beware, lest ye be scandalized in me in order that ye may become blissful.”

They departed and reported all these facts to John. John, of course, replied to them: Since, therefore, ye see such things and hear such things, why do ye not believe? Are these not the marks betokening the promised Messiah? What does the prophet Isaiah prophesy concerning him?­ “Be strong, ye weak hands and feeble knees. Tell them that are faint hearted and timid-minded. Be strong; fear not. Behold, our God will ren­der judgment with recompense: he himself will come and save us. Then (when He comes) the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall wax eloquent; for in the wilderness shall water break out, and a ravine in thirsty ground” (Isa. 35 :3 – 6). And: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; wherefore the Lord hath anointed me to preach the gospel unto the poor; to heal the contrite of heart; to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of eyesight to the blind” (Isa. 61 :1). Herein ye can see for yourselves that the prophet Isaiah gives us the true marks by which to recognize the Messiah, or Christ-those very things which ye have heard and seen that Jesus Christ is doing. Why, then, do ye not believe? Something of this kind must have been the reply of John when commiserating the disciples remaining with him for their callousness of understanding. But the unfortunates themselves were scandalized like the rest of the Jews.

Jesus spoke and did in accordance with a standard and plan laid out beforehand whereby His mission could be proved and His divinity be demonstrated. “I have not spoken out of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment as to what I should say, and as to what I should speak” He said (John 12 :49). Moreover, it is to be carefully noted that these thing , too, are the very things exactly which had been prophesied in order that all unbelief should remain unjustifiable. “If I bear witness of myself”, said He, “my testimony is not true. There is another who beareth witness of me; and I know that the testimony to which he testifieth concerning me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bore witness to the truth. But I receive testimony not from any man: but these things I say, that ye may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp; but ye were willing only to rejoice in its light for the time being. But I have testimony greater than that of John. For the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I am doing, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, who hath sent me, hath borne witness of me” (John 5:31-37).

Such things as these did the Lord use to say in leading the Jews straight forward to fuller knowledge and understanding of Himself. But those unfortunates, turning a deaf ear to the Scriptures, and at the same time blinding themselves to preplanted works which Jesus performed before their eyes, persisted in their unbelief, being scandalized into thinking that no man that was a meat-eater and wine-drinker (as they called Him, because He was in the habit of eating and drinking to sustain the body He bore), no man that they could look in the face, could possibly be a God. Isaiah had said: “He Himself will come and save us,” and will do such and such deeds. But how was He to come? As a human being just as he says elsewhere, when calling him also Emmanuel, which means, “God in men,” or “God among men.” Jesus looked like a human being, but He was a human being and a God, being proved to be such by the things that He used to say and do. But the unintelligent and unscienced nation of the Jews, being unable to infer the cause from effects, or the being and essence from phenomena (i. e., appearances), was scandalized, and went astray, and was lost. But the philosophical nation of the Greeks, being reasonable and intelligent, after perceiving the identity of the Lord and God n the person of Jesus, believed and submitted to Him, and was glorified n Him. As for those, on the other hand, who refuse to believe in the well-attested and at all times verified divinity of Jesus, they are all spurious Greeks and of a Jewish nature; they are destined to perish. Those, however, who believe shall shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of God, and shall be blissful while living together with Him in joy forever. The deeds and sayings of Jesus, which He did and spoke while on t:he earth, and which He continues to do and to speak even today through his disciples-deeds and sayings which are beyond human power and intellect, and by which the world of idolatry was changed and made unlike itself, and by which the “old man” is renovated and made new, and by which man is deified – all with one voice proclaim Jesus to be God become incarnate (or “inhominated”), in order to make man a God. While we still have time, by believing in the truth, let us take advantage of the free gift of God through faith and submission in agreement with His word in the Holy Scriptures.

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