Questions coming back1
Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.
- Matthew 11:6
Alex pointed out today that these are the last words that Jesus would have ever exchanged with John the Baptist. We don’t hear how John responded to Jesus’ message to him in prison. We don’t ever see the two of them reunited.
This enigmatic phrase shows a side of Jesus that we all too easily overlook. In his message to John in prison, Jesus issues him not comfort but a challenge.
John’s confidence in Jesus was shaky as reports of Jesus’ ministry filtered into John’s prison cell. He was a risk from slipping from question-asker (which is something Jesus affirms) to stumbling. The image of a stumbler falling on his face induces a wince and an uncomfortable laugh.
But Jesus throughout his life and ministry proved to be a stumbling block for many. They just couldn’t accept him as a picture of God. He was too unconventional. He was too kind to sinners. He was too much of an outsider. Over and over again people who are fine with God in theory stumble when they connect with Jesus directly.
And Jesus knew this about himself.
He saw John’s struggle to accept a Messiah who didn’t meet all of his expectations. John had to choose whether to hang on to his expectations or to hang on to Jesus. Jesus challenged him to watch his footing. Jesus cared.
When we come to Jesus with our questions, we shouldn’t be surprised when he challenges us in return. Jesus is not ultimately interested in satisfying our curiosity. He has bigger fish to fry. He wants our hearts to be right with him and our lives to align with his purposes for us.
As you ask God your questions today, listen for his challenges that come back toward you. Don’t just fire off question after question. Pause to receive and ponder God’s response.