[Matthew 11 – from The Message]
Even John wondered if Jesus was really Jesus. After the baptism, while he is sitting in prison, he wonders if he spent those locust-eating days in vain. Was he misled? Did he mislead others? Why is he stuck in prison, waiting on the life-or-death whims of a megalomaniac ruler? This brutal world seems to be winning; where is the savior? Yet Jesus sends word back … and directs his eyes in another direction – to the poor, the lame, the small. (Imagining myself in prison, I expect I’d still obsess on my own predicament.)
So Jesus asks the crowd, ‘What did you expect? A change to come from the same-old-same-old? The people in power to abdicate? Unlikely. But an irresistible change is coming, building from the prophets to John.’
‘Those who deem themselves to be in the right face a bigger challenge – and are doubly damned when they refuse to see.’
The wisdom of God seems more accessible to the sinner than the saint, to the simpleminded rather than the brilliant, to the powerless rather than the powerful. (Hmmm, does not bode so well for me, when I strive for saintly brilliance. Better to listen with humility.) Even so, he speaks to me with grace.
You can still come to me – no matter how tired or worn or discouraged. I will show you the way – and will do so by giving you work that fits you well – a yoke that binds us together in mutual endeavor – follow my lead. There is grace in the doing.