GOSPEL READING: Luke 7:18-23
18 The disciples of John told him of all these things.19 And John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, `Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?'” 21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”
SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25
6 That men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7: I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the LORD, who do all these things. 8: “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it.
18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other. 21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: `To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’ 24 “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed, all who were incensed against him. 25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory.”
Meditation: How can we know that Jesus is who he claims to be, the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and Savior of the world? Is our faith a blind leap we must take without certainty or proof? John the Baptist sent his disciples to question Jesus about his claim to be God’s anointed Messiah. Did John have doubts about Jesus and his claim to divinity? Not likely, since John had earlier revealed Jesus’ mission at the River Jordan when he exclaimed, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
John saw from a distance what Jesus would accomplish through his atoning sacrifice on the cross – our redemption from bondage to sin, condemnation, and death, and our adoption as sons and daughters of God and citizens of the kingdom of heaven. John very likely sent his disciples to Jesus because he wanted them to hear and see firsthand for themselves the signs and proof that the Messiah had indeed come in the person of Jesus who was sent by the Father in heaven and anointed by the Spirit at the River Jordan.
The Messiah performs the signs of God’s kingdom power
The miracles which Jesus performed and the message he proclaimed about the coming of God’s kingdom in his person was a direct fulfillment of what the prophets had foretold many centuries before (see Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 61:1). Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom and new life for all who were oppressed by afflictions, infirmities, sin and guilt, and demonic spirits (see Isaiah 61:1-2).
Jesus came in the power of God’s kingdom to release those bound up by sin, fear, and hopelessness. His miracles and exorcisms are direct signs of God’s power and presence and they confirm that the Father has sent his only begotten Son to be our Messiah (which means the Anointed One) and Savior.
Through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and through the power of his resurrection we receive the first-fruits of God’s kingdom – the forgiveness of our sins, adoption as sons and daughters of God, new life in the Holy Spirit, and the promise that we will be raised to everlasting life with God in his kingdom. The Gospel is “good news” for all who receive it and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know and witness to others the joy and good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires.Set my heart aflame with the fire of your love and with the power of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly witness the joy of the Gospel and serve your kingdom wherever you place me.
8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him, and make his footsteps a way.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Miracles testify that Jesus is the Messiah, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“‘In that same hour he healed many of sicknesses and of scourges, and of evil spirits; and gave sight to many that were blind.’ He made them spectators and eyewitnesses of his greatness and gathered into them a great admiration of his power and ability. They then bring forward the question and beg in John’s name to be informed whether he is ‘he who comes.’ Here see, I ask, the beautiful art of the Savior’s management. He does not simply say, ‘I am.’ If he had spoken this, it would have been true. He leads them to the proof given by the works themselves. In order that having accepted faith in him on good grounds and being furnished with knowledge from what had been done, they may return to him who sent them. ‘Go’ he says, ‘tell John the things that you have seen and heard.’ ‘For you have heard indeed,’ he says, ‘that I have raised the dead by the all-powerful word and by the touch of the hand. While you stood by, you have also seen that those things that were spoken of old time by the holy prophets are accomplished: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dumb hear, the dead rise, and the poor are preached to. The blessed prophets had announced all these things before, as about in due time to be accomplish by my hands. I bring to pass those things that were prophesied long before, and you are yourselves spectators of them. Return and tell those things that you have seen with your own eyes accomplished by my might and ability, and which at various times the blessed prophets foretold.'” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 37)