“What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings palaces But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes I tell you and one who is more than a prophet. Matthew 11:8-9
Very interesting text.. Well, let’s not waste any time I want to jump right in to interrogate it.
What are we looking at here in this question? What must we ask ourselves? Obviously Jesus repeated the same question in these 2 verses 3 times…Now, for Him to do something like that with repetition don’t you think there was a meaning behind it.. Not for Him but for us.. Let’s dig deep to find out in ourselves what it was all about..Think through this with me will you.
Who is He talking about? Let’s first establish that Jesus is talking about John the baptist in this text. John’s disciples have just left Jesus.. Once more and again.. I know, didn’t we just see his disciples asking Jesus something about why His disciples didn’t fast and they and the pharisees did?? So, it was obvious by now they felt comfortable going to Him, at least Jesus always gave them an answer. The best part about it I think was that Jesus was not like the pastor’s of our day in that you did not have to schedule an appointment with His secretary first and wait for the day He’s available, although Jesus’ schedule was as busy as any person I could ever know on the earth and everything He did was on purpose and had great meaning!
We waste time, Jesus redeemed time!
When we look at this text I must take into account John’s disciples and ask.. why weren’t these fellows following Jesus, hadn’t John attested to who Jesus was, wasn’t he the forerunner, they would be crazy to follow the “friend of the bridegroom who had to decrease” while the bridegroom was on the scene. But here is where we find true loyalty, and Jesus did not have any rebuke for that.
Yet I can imagine the crowd was thinking.. Oh, so poor John has gone into prison and lost his faith. John had just sent to Jesus his disciples to ask “Are you the one are should we look for another?” Uh Oh, Really John, hadn’t you yourself attested to who Jesus was at the water’s of baptism, I mean even before you met Him face to face in the womb, do you remember that leaping event.. I think John maybe had selective amnesia too, isn’t that a lack of faith to go and ask Jesus is He really the one or not..
When Jesus had answered their question telling them to go back to John with the proof of what they were seeing and hear…
He then, possibly knowing the hearts of those in the crowd, thinking to themselves.. “We picked the right one to follow” Jesus began His questioning series.. He says to them.. you went out to see John in the wilderness.. “What did you go out to see?” This is a question of motive.. I know your following me now and your all in your glory because you see Me Doing all these miracles and you think this is way cool.. But the truth is.. John was preaching in the wilderness.. You didn’t go to a palace to see anyone.. Why would you press your way to go out there? Did you go to see a coward person, a person who is easily tossed about.. In other words you remember that John was bold, the whole reason he is in prison is because he was preaching righteousness against a king who didn’t want to hear it.. It didn’t matter who he preached it to..
Boy will that be the day, when we don’t care who we preach it to, we tell it like it is.. I have always been astounded with the way John would call a spade a spade in your face and don’t care if you like it or not!
They went out to see him because they liked the prophetic power he possessed and not what he wore.. Let me tell you something when you have truth preached to you and it’s pricking your heart and changing your life and getting all the evil out.. You will go wherever you must.. this is what they were doing, they weren’t headed to the palace, they were headed to the desert, to hear a man that was going to tell them one thing.. Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.. and of course they were drawn to him..
Now Jesus’ question to them is did they think he was a fake.. What did they go out to see? They’d heard him before and were drawn… They went out to see more than a prophet. He had inaugurated the messianic age, John had one purpose and that was to be a forerunner for Jesus..
So here is my question.. When we have a purpose and have been called by God to do great things.. Does that mean that every day of our lives we will do that thing and there will never be a time of retirement.. Well, obviously, John realized in prison he could not effectively do what he had been doing all along and not long afterward he was beheaded.. Talk about a way to go out.. in righteousness serving the king.. What happens when purpose calls you to die the most painful death, with the one’s who followed you at one point being told.. This John… he was the real thing! This… (Put your name in there) was the real thing..