On Sunday we were talking about John the Baptiser. Jesus was having a massive go at people for being unbelievably childish....wanting God to dance to their tune "you're too serious"/"you're not serious enough" etc...and he holds John up as a great example of an authentic follower.
In fact he said that no one greater had ever walked the face of the planet. That's a pretty bold claim to make and it certainly gets your attention. (I remember listening to Gordon Ramsey on Desert Island Discs and hearing him say that his all time favourite book about the world of catering was Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. That got my attention so I bought the book and took it on holiday in the sure knowledge I'd get to hear someone really worth listening to.) But then we hear that John, for all this tremendous accolade, was full of doubt, confusion and disappointment.
"Go and find Jesus", he tells two of his own followers, "and ascertain whether he really is the One because it sure doesn't feel like it from this prison cell in Machaerus Fortress...." He wants to know what on earth is going on. Don't we all face that. "God, what are you doing with all the power you have because I don't get it!"
Jesus doesn't offer any explanation for the confusing stuff but simply says, "Look at what I am doing not what I'm not - you know the stuff you think I should be doing." Jesus lists the things he's doing and invites John to focus on that. The lesson is simple. it's OK to have doubts and confusion about the stuff that we see around us but we need to focus on what Jesus is doing and supremely on what he has done on the Cross.
Verse 23 of chapter 7 is a stinger: Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me or...
Blessed is the person who doesn’t give up on God because they’re disappointed with the way I choose to operate.
How many of us give up or are tempted to give up on God because he doesn't dance to our tune delivering what we think he should. The antidote....focus on the amazing grace of God shown to us in the Cross, the work he has done.