The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” Luke 7:18-19
John the Baptist was imprisoned when he summoned two disciples to visit Jesus to confirm that he was indeed the Messiah. Isolated and alone, we can merely speculate the prophet was fielding doubts after his dynamic ministry came to an abrupt halt. You’ve got to think that deep down John still believed in Jesus, but was possibly impatient in his flesh for the establishment of his view of what the kingdom was supposed to look like, and perhaps, as a result, his release.
When his two disciples arrived and asked Jesus the question John posed, he was in the process of healing the sick and “binding up the brokenhearted.” (Isaiah 61:1) Jesus told the disciples to tell him what you see. Is he not doing what was foretold? He then gently rebuked not only John but everyone else with this statement, “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (7:23)
When we are separated from the words and works of Jesus, skepticism can creep in. Moreover, the word “offense” used here (skandalizō) means to place a stumbling block in someone’s path. We think of the English word “scandal” meaning something more perverse, but what could be more scandalous than casting doubt (or even entertaining the notion that) Jesus is not the “coming one?”
John must have been buoyed to hear the news and the intended allusion to Isaiah 61, the same passage that Jesus read in the synagogue to initiate the “scandal” that would become his ministry! (Luke 4:18-19)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
In a way we are all stuck in a prison cell without physical access to Jesus. But the Word and Spirit of God are more than enough to help us bide the time as we’re shackled to this earth. In his case, John needed only to remember his baptism of Jesus to bolster his faith.
Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Luke 3:21–22
And when John saw Jesus coming down to be baptized, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
First a Savior, then a King.