In Luke 7, when John the Baptist starts to have doubts about Jesus, he must have had all kinds of questions: Am I following the right path? Am I putting my trust in the right person? Is Jesus really the one I should be following? What does it even mean to call him the chosen one? Are my expectations of him really what he’s all about? Part of the problem for John seems to be that Jesus’ ministry wasn’t exactly what John expected. John, like many of his day, may have been hoping for direct confrontation with their oppressors but Jesus was instead resisting through messages of healing and love.
These questions of who we should follow and why are questions we still ask ourselves today, not only in our spiritual lives but we see them reflected in our modern day myths such as the Harry Potter movies or the Matrix movies. To get some of these questions answered, John sends his followers to ask Jesus if he’s really God’s Chosen One. Jesus doesn’t answer right away but spends time healing the people that had gathered before responding. When he does respond, he doesn’t refer to scripture or suggest some contest to prove his power. He tells John’s followers: report what you’ve seen and heard. He simply says this is my ministry, this is what I’m doing. See, hear, and experience what it means to challenge the powers of the world with love and healing instead of weapons and then report your experience to John. That will have to be enough.
We aren’t told what John thought of this answer, but we might reflect on our own reaction. What have we seen and heard on our spiritual journey? How have we experienced God’s presence in our life? Through healing, acts of love, community? When life isn’t going as expected, can we put our trust in this way of God, this way of love? And are we willing and able to report what we’ve seen and heard? The world desperately needs more love, more deep connection, more compassion. The world needs to find healing and wholeness that we may live together in peace and mutual support. Are we willing to try this way of love and then share it with others, even invite them to walk with us?
(I originally wrote this short reflection for my church’s newsletter. It was inspired by my sermon from Sunday, February 12, 2017. The church’s website is http://www.phoenixchurch.org)