What Do You See?


In Matthew chapter 11, we read a short passage where the imprisoned and soon-to-be-executed John the Baptist sends some of his followers to Jesus with a question.  The passage reads like this:  
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 
I've always been intrigued by John's question because it's so incredibly real.  There had been a time when John was sure that Jesus was the Messiah.  But at this moment, as he's languishing in prison, John begins to wonder.  

Then Jesus sends back this message: 
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Jesus' response is fascinating.  He doesn't make a single claim one way or the other.  In typical Jesus fashion, he answers a question with a question of his own.  And the question that is embedded in Jesus' litany of miracles and wonders is simply this:  "What do you see?"  

What John is presented with then is a choice.  He can choose to stay focused on the walls of his cell, and despair at a world gone mad with greed, lust for power, political and religious corruption...  

Or he can lift up his head and see where God is making all things new.  To see where the Spirit of God is moving.  

As we move into this third week of Advent, that is also our choice.  Do we choose to stay focused on the trials and tribulations that we are facing?  Do we narrow our gaze in the world to where we only see all that is wrong in the world?

Or do we choose to see something different?  Perhaps instead, we choose to see where the Spirit of God is transforming the world--bringing God's kingdom of peace to us right here, right now.  

And, as Walter Brueggeman claims, it's easy to spot the movement of the Spirit if you are so inclined:  
The Spirit is wind and not wall. It is possibility and not coercion. It is opportunity and not threat.  
May you have your head lifted up and your eyes opened to all of the places and spaces God is making new through Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit.  May you find yourself with a new vision, new hope and a renewed sense of purpose.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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