26 Aug 2001

Overlooking the Obvious

Submitted by theshovel
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When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?' Jesus replied, 'Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.' Matthew 11:2-6 NIV

Why did John have such doubts about Jesus at this point? Wasn't he sent by God to prepare the way? Didn't he witness the Spirit coming upon Jesus? So what happened in prison to trigger John's question of doubt? According to the story, it's because he heard what Christ was doing. Make sense? Not unless you recognize the tension between the identities of John and Jesus - then it should become obvious why doubt was the ONLY logical conclusion.

The tension? John was the EPITOME of righteousness by the Law, Jesus was the END of it. John separated himself from the world, Jesus welcomed it. John was judged because of principles, Jesus was judged for the lack of them. John was unlike the Pharisees in that he was the righteous lawman because he testified of the righteousness of God in Christ APART from the law. If this sounds confusing just imagine what must have been happening inside John.

Picture being thrown into a filthy cell for RIGHTFULLY telling the king he violated the law, then imagine hearing news of the amazing deeds done by the man you RIGHTFULLY promoted who seemed to disregard the principles by which you lived. Wouldn't you question the seeming contradiction of rightness between the law and this man who seemed to violate the law while doing his deeds? John may have testified to righteousness without law by declaring Jesus, but that doesn't mean he understood it. In this, he was no different than Jesus' own disciples who didn't understand him till they received the Spirit.

How did Jesus respond? He sent John's men back to him with the same news he already heard, while adding one thing: "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of ME." Huh? Simply stated, Jesus told John not to let the UNEXPECTED cause him to trip over the fulfillment of the EXPECTED. In other words, don't overlook the obvious reality of the miraculous because of a faulty expectation of CHRIST himself. His deeds fulfilled all the written expectations, but the expected one could not be understood simply by the writings!

This is not just about John's perceptions, but also about yours and mine, because it explains the reason why we usually miss the miraculous that happens right in front of us. Our confusion isn't caused by a Bible verse or a doctrinal disagreement, no, we overlook the obvious because of the UNEXPECTED life of Christ.

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Posted: August 26, 2001 by Michael Daniel

Howdy Brother Jim,

You know, if I didn't know better I'd think you just might know who Jesus really is and who you are in Him. Course, bein' the heathen that you are, that is completely unthinkable. Ho, Ho, Ho! Did you like my impression of Santy Claus?

Okay, I'll be serious, but not for long.

Mr. Minker you are dead on it. So much of the time we are blinded by the deep search, or the quick fix, or the promise of success, that we totally overlook what God has, and is showing us when it's right in front of our eyes. In our hearts we know it's the truth but we try to justify things logistically, with our finite mind of flesh, and ignore the fact that God is limitless and is more than likely the total opposite of everything we think He is.

John HAD to doubt! He had no choice. God Himself purposed that doubt so that John would not, and could not rely on his own thoughts and feelings and emotions, but instead believe what God had already told him. He KNEW Jesus was The Messiah, but through that glimmer of doubt that GOD CAUSED, John had to keep totally, completely, and continually relying on his Father in Heaven to be his sustaining power and strength, and not even take thought of the works Jesus had done. Simple childlike faith! God says it. BELIEVE IT!!!

What is God whispering to us from within? Will we listen and believe? Or will we be beguiled by the witchcraft of the world? I wonder.

Thanks for laying everything on the line and telling it like it is.


Posted: August 26, 2001 by Elaine

Oh Jim, I have questioned why John the Baptist doubted who Jesus was. I just couldn't understand this one. When I would ask my org. church leader I would get "well he had been in jail and was experiencing doubts and he got what he needed from Jesus". Geesh, that never helped me understand at all. But when you look at what John had been preaching and what Jesus was doing. I get understanding for John's question and for Jesus's response. Thank you.


Posted: August 26, 2001 by Michael Daniel

My Dear Brother,

Man, Jim, I am smooth, blown away at how our Father in Heaven speaks through you. I really shouldn't be, because you and The Father are ONE!!!

Your original helpful background knocked me out, and then the second salvo nuked everything religion has taught. I can't get enough of Christ in you. This is just too much for this Texican to take but if you stop I'll have to rebuke you. Ha, Ha Ha!

YOU CAN'T STOP! IT'S MESSIAH YESHUA HIMSELF POURING OUT HIS TRUTH THROUGH YOU!!!

POUR IT ON AND IN US FATHER!!! BE YOUR RIVER OF LIVING WATER CASCADING FROM US INTO YOUR VAST AND THIRSTY BODY OF BELIEVERS!!!

Oh how I praise You and thank You for willing souls. Never let them be silenced!!!

I love you all,


Posted: August 29, 2001 by the shovel

Michael, my bro!!

I started yesterday evening to continue those thoughts as they began on another list and I was reminded yesterday afternoon about the hanging letter. haha!

I just absolutely LOVE the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John!! I am convinced that we have had them reinterpreted for us by the same kind of mindset that Jesus BLASTED (as shown in those writings). I am continually blown away by seeing those words in a whole new light - NOT as a "hide-bound" manuscript or a magician's book of incantations - but as simple ACCOUNTS of Jesus' interactions with all kinds of people.

The more I simply live as free in Christ I see more and more how the interactions between the religious community and the LIFE itself are the very same clashes that Jesus went through even then. The words of the Bible become simpler and simpler as I see them within the scenes described by the words. I hear my OWN religious arguments shown for what they are, and then I hear the life that levels the playing field through the justification and reconciliation of Christ.

I may not have the continued letter out today because we're leaving soon to go to my dad and mom's house to celebrate his 79th birthday!! But maybe I'll have something before I leave.

Love,
Jim


Posted: August 29, 2001 by Sherri

"You see, Jesus never changed the nature of the law in any way, but instead, He FULFILLED it. We're not free from law because He got rid of it, but because He took us OUT OF ITS REALM AND INTO ANOTHER"

Yes, out of the realm of the impossibility of keeping and/or satisfying it, into the realm of it being miraculously satisfied by Another; and the Other Who fulfilled and satisfied the Law, is the Same One Who has made us satisfying and Who is the very fulfillment in us!

You are so good at this background stuff! Explaining the historic scenarios, etc.!

: )

When I read this particular one, I could only imagine how confused John the baptizer would be, as well! Like you said, Jesus simply did not fit anyone's expectations! Even John's!

Funny, He still has the same affect today, as does His Body!

: )
Sherri


Posted: August 26, 2001 by Richard

I'm sure there were those in the crowd 2000 years ago thinking in their hearts as they were listening to Jesus speak, Who does this guy think he is, God or something?
Someone else probably piped up, for sure man, like he's got a real attitude ya know ,a Messiah complex!!

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