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THE QUEST FOR THE MESSIAH

Read­ing Time: 3 minutes

Intro­duc­tion
John places the search for the mes­si­ah at the incep­tion of the Gos­pel (cf. John 1:19–51). In John 1:19–20, the search for the mes­si­ah is cleared indic­ated. Here also, we find for the first time the Jew­ish term maµsûia gen­er­ally trans­lit­er­ated mes­si­as and nor­mally trans­lated in Greek as Chris­tos (cf. John 1:41). The numer­ous events of John 1:19 show that the desire for a Mes­si­ah was wide­spread among vari­ous groups of people. It is in this con­text that we have to under­stand the inquiry which John the Baptist asked his dis­ciples to make con­cern­ing the advent of the messiah.

Are you the One who is to come or…?
What is the reas­on for John’s ques­tion wheth­er Jesus is the Com­ing One or should they wait for anoth­er? In his under­stand­ing and due to his impris­on­ment, John had expec­ted that the One who is to come should have been a source of bless­ing and judg­ment to those who repen­ted and to those who refused to repent. Jesus proved to John that he was the One who is to come. This he did by send­ing his dis­ciples back to him to report to their mas­ter what they saw. In Jesus and through Jesus, the proph­et­ic prom­ises were and are real­ized. Jesus real­izes the words or prom­ises of Isai­ah. That is, the blind receive their sight (cf. Isa 29:18; 35:5; Matt 9:27–31; 15:30–31); the lame walk (cf. Isa 35:6; Matt 15:30–31); lepers are cleansed (cf. Isa 53:4; Matt 8:1–4); the deaf hear (cf. 29:18–19; 35:5; Mark 7:32–37); the dead are raised (cf. Isa 26:18–19; Matt 10:8; Luke 7:11–17; John 11:1–44); and the ‘ănāwȋm (the poor) have the euan­geli­on (Good News) pro­claimed to them (cf. Isa 61:1; Matt 5:3; Luke 14:13.21). As Isai­ah rightly poin­ted out, God’s way is quite dif­fer­ent from human way (Isa 55:8–9). John and oth­er Jews used their sub­ject­ive cri­ter­ia to eval­u­ate the arrival and pres­ence of the mes­si­ah, but God adop­ted a com­pletely dif­fer­ent cri­terion. It is a mat­ter of ‘who’ and ‘what.’ That is, who decides the con­di­tions and what are those con­di­tions? Often, we use our sub­ject­ive ways to approach divine mat­ters. This is wrong. God’s ways and oper­a­tions should not be determ­ined by mere sub­ject­ive and per­son­al­ised con­di­tions. They must be based on object­ive and dis­in­ter­ested motiv­a­tions. If John under­stood this, then, he would not have sent his dis­ciples to inquire from Jesus if he is the One who is to come. Effect of shal­low and super­fi­cial con­sid­er­a­tions. How do we determ­ine God’s work today?

Con­clu­sion
Have you recog­nized the Mes­si­ah? Have we recog­nized the Saviour? Or are you still search­ing for him? The Baptist’s atti­tude of send­ing his dis­ciples to Jesus to find out if he is the Mes­si­ah or not, should not sur­prise us. Like the Jews, he also had his per­son­al expect­a­tions of the Mes­si­ah. There is some­thing strange about Chris­ti­ans. They believe in God and at the same time, they do not believe. Like the dis­ciples of Jesus, they are the same that believe and the same that equally doubt (cf. Matt 28:16–17). One of the attrib­utes of God is omni­pres­ence. But many Chris­ti­ans believe there are par­tic­u­lar places to go so as to obtain God’s bless­ings and the so-called mir­acle. And this atti­tude leads to many queer things and beha­viours. Cer­tainly, God’s ways are not our ways. Our daily exper­i­ence teaches us that things do not always work out the way we wish. This should not scan­dal­ize any­one. It is a nor­mal situ­ation. If things always work out exactly the way we want it, then, we would be gods no more humans. This is where many people go astray and allow them­selves to be deceived, or rather, deceive them­selves. No mat­ter how super­lat­ive your faith may be, you can nev­er escape the uncer­tainty and vicis­situdes of life. Just like the two sides of the same coin, life is made of moments of joy and moments of sor­row. What we should desire is that our joy­ous moments be con­stant. This is my wish and pray­er for you. Remem­ber, an unre­solved chal­lenge in life can evolve into ser­i­ous prob­lem. Be on the watch! In our con­tem­por­ary soci­ety and espe­cially, in our con­tem­por­ary Chris­tian­ity, who are the blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf, the dead and the poor? God bless you as you pon­der on this.

Do not be like John the Baptist and the Jews who had their own cri­ter­ia on how the Mes­si­ah should be. Because of this, they nev­er real­ised the Mes­si­ah was already with them and in their midst. God is with you every­where you go and in all you do except evil. In every situ­ation, always be patient (cf. Second Read­ing). Do not be a wait and take believ­er. Take care and happy laetare Sunday. Sha­lom!

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