When John [the Baptist], who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 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” (Matthew 11:2-5).
John the Baptist is asking Jesus an important question: is Jesus the promised Messiah?
Rather than respond by pointing to fulfilled prophecies, Jesus tells John to look around. There are people who once were blind who now can see. There are people paralyzed since birth who now can walk. Don’t forgot the lepers and the deaf and the dead. Miracle after miracle points to Jesus being the Messiah.
But we might overlook the last piece of evidence Jesus offers: the good news was proclaimed to the poor. Surely that’s not as dramatic as calling a dead person out of the grave or having skin transformed in an instant. Yet, Jesus felt compelled to add this to his list. Why?
Throughout the Old Testament, God is an advocate for those who do not have a voice of their own. He expresses concern for the widow and the orphan. He thunders justice to leaders who oppress.
When Jesus returns to his hometown synagogue, he reads this passage of scripture:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Then he adds, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Perhaps one mark that God is present in a person’s life is the extent to which they are concerned for the less fortunate.
What do you think?