Jesus the Generous–The Comfort of Legacy
Prison stinks–especially if you are innocent.
But that’s where John was. He offered political speak against the King. And that’s the kind of stuff that gets you thrown into prison. When you speak against the King, they don’t exactly give you favored treatment. The longer he stayed in prison, the more he realized that it was over. His story was coming to an end.
In the misery of the prison, there’s plenty of time to reflect. John is only human. He looks back to his parents and the miraculous birth, the call to the wilderness and his spartan life. He recalled the crowds, and the surge of the spirit moving over the people, and the baptisms. He remembers his favorite baptism, and a descending dove saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well-pleased.”
But the crowds dwindled after that. It wasn’t too much longer before he ended up in this stinking prison cell, and he wondered, “was it all worth it? Was he really the one? Did he give his life for something that mattered?”
So in a moment of doubt, he sends a messenger to Jesus with a simple question: “Are you really the One?”
Notably on other occasion, Jesus tells Phillip, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me…” But on this occasion, there is no such challenge to John. He knows that John is struggling with his legacy.
And he doesn’t respond with a simple yes, but he responds exuberantly, generously: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” Luke 7.22
The affirmation is loud and positive, “Yes, you gave your life for something that mattered!”
So let me ask you–do you have a parent, a grandparent, an elder, a teacher, a pastor, a spouse–who needs your generous affirmation that their life and legacy matter to you and the world? Respond generously.