“What did you go out into the wilderness to look at?” Matthew 11:7
This is the question Jesus asks of the crowds that went to see John the Baptist. Maybe they didn’t’ know the answer. Why had they gone out? What did they hope they would find from a desert preacher dressed like the prophets of old? Had they found it? Jesus’ question makes me think about our own religious searching and how we mostly come back with more questions and uncertainty. Or maybe we just don’t put in the work to really come to grips with the answers God gives us. Sometimes, I think, we like the uncertainty and mystery because it means we don’t have to take action.
Jesus presses the people who went to see John the Baptist. He tells them what they went out to see, in case they were still wondering. John was the prophet sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus is declaring himself the Messiah to these questioners, these undecideds, these seekers. And he is telling us that he is the Messiah, the one God has promised. With his question Jesus serves up a call to commitment, a call to action. How will we respond? What does it mean to claim Jesus as the Messiah? How does that claim challenge us to live differently?