Knee Jerk Devotional: October 7, 2020

Luke 7:18-35

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash


Passage:

John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

What more do you want?

That’s the question that comes to my mind when I read this passage this morning.

What more do you want?

This passage opens with Luke telling us that John’s disciples (people who seek to follow John the Baptist still exist, they’re called Mandaeans, no, not Mandalorians, that’s really different) were telling John all about what Jesus was doing.

Remember, Jesus had just raised a boy from the dead. He had just healed the servant of the Centurion without ever having seen the boy.

John’s response?

“Find out if he’s really the guy.”

To that I say,

WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?

John’s so normal though. He’s just like you and I. We are out here living our lives, struggling through the day to day and wondering if God cares about us.

We put our heads down and don’t complain about the virus, the home schooling, or much of anything else. We are just faithful to what’s sitting in front of us and we go get it done.

John had a calling too. It was a weird one. He ate locusts and honey, stood in the Jordan River, and baptized folks. Shortly after he asks this question of Jesus we learn that he gets beheaded by Herod because John had the audacity to question Herod’s moral choices regarding sleeping with his brother’s wife. But, that’s another story for another day (and you can read about in Matthew 14). He understood his weird calling to be in preparation for the coming King, the Messiah, who would reconcile all things.

He was wondering if his faithful work was in vain.

His cousin, Jesus, seemed like the real deal. But, he just wasn’t entirely sure. You see back in the day there were loads of faith healers. You get a sense of this from reading the story because people aren’t typically wowed that Jesus healed someone but by his words. So maybe we can cut John some slack.

How many of us have said or thought, “God, just show yourself to me and I will believe.”

Yet, when we experience something that we can’t explain, we still try to explain it away. It’s like we are standing there with John the Baptist, “Yo, are you really the one?”

I think for folks like most of us, we want to know that God notices and we want to know that we are not faithfully toiling in vain. Just like John.

You know what never comes from the mouth of Jesus? This question,

What more do you want?

He never utters it. He simply sends the disciples of John back with an answer. In a sense he was saying, “Cuz, I got you. I’m the guy. You can trust that. Check out what I’m up to. It’s not random. It’s purposeful. You did it man. You minister not in vain.”

I think Jesus wants us to hear that too.

You’re loved.
You’re cared for.
You matter.
Your labor is not in vain.
I see you.

I’d encourage you to do something silly today. Take a moment and write a note to Jesus, similar to the one John the Baptist sent with his disciples. What do you want to Jesus to see? What do you want Jesus to acknowledge? What more do you want? Write it out and ask him. Then, sit in that request for a moment or two. Allow your feelings, emotions, and thoughts to wash over you. Finally, in faith, imagine what Jesus’ response would. Imagine him saying…

You’re loved.
You’re cared for.
You matter.
Your labor is not in vain.
I see you.