Connect the dots

Today’s reading:  Luke 7:1-35

I ask a lot of questions.  Sometimes my motive is to find out what is going on so I can meet the demands of the situation – due dates, arrival times, transportation needs, etc.  Other times it is just because I’m interested in the subject or entertained by the art of the conversation.  Occasionally, however, I ask questions because I’m skeptical.  Either additional information is going to help me connect the dots and buy into the story, or it will help me see through the erroneous information and get to the truth.

Even though my motive for asking questions is generally good, my method isn’t always viewed in such a favorable light.  Just ask B.J. or my kids, I sometimes drive them nuts with too much asking.  They’ve learned that headphones over their ears is a deterrent and/or makes it easier for them to ignore me.  So, I just save my questions for later!

Our assigned passage for today opens with questions.  Jesus’ ministry was in its early stages.  His revolutionary teaching and the miracles he was performing were being talked about by everyone.  John the Baptist, who’s life’s mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah, was confused.  The reports he had been receiving about this man named Jesus were incomplete and inconsistent, so John was skeptical.  His response was to ask questions.  Either additional information was going to help him connect the dots and reveal Jesus’ identity as the Messiah or it was going to help him see though the false reports and shut down the impersonator.

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else’” (Luke 7:20)?

So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me” (Luke 7:22-23).

Notice Jesus’ response to John’s questions.  He wasn’t annoyed, didn’t ignore him or try to shut him up.  Rather, he welcomed his skepticism and answered in a way only John would understand.  By explaining he had accomplished all the things foretold by the prophet Isaiah, John would conclude Jesus had to be the person for whom he had been waiting.

Jesus knew John had a lot at stake and that his doubts were normal human behavior.  See, even though John had given his whole life to prepare the way for Jesus to come, he didn’t have the whole story.  God didn’t reveal every detail of his plan to John, nor was there 24 hour news media to inform John of Jesus’ every move so he could more easily figure it out himself.  Jesus had to help him connect the dots.

In the same way, God understands our human nature.  He knows we don’t understand the whole story and are naturally skeptical about things.  He welcomes our questions.  Today, will you admit your doubts to God and ask him to guide you in finding answers?  If your motives are pure, I promise he will help you connect the dots and invite you into a trust relationship with him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8).