Key Verse: John 1:29
Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:1-15
In That's a Great Question, Glenn Pearson writes that some people don’t see Jesus clearly because they view Him through filters. These filters today include agnosticism, atheism, and selective Christian theology, among many more. The problem with filters is that they prevent us from seeing the whole picture or the whole Truth.
When Jesus came to earth as a newborn, the event we celebrate as Christmas, many of the people close to Him saw Him through filters. His earthly father, Joseph at first saw Him through a filter of shame, until God showed him the truth in a dream.
When Jesus began His ministry, the Pharisees saw Him through a filter of heresy, and even some of those who followed Him saw Him through a filter of the military victory over their oppressors they longed for.
One person who saw Jesus clearly was John the Baptist. In John 1:29 we read: When John saw Jesus coming toward him, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John saw Jesus clearly that day without a filter. But later, when he was in prison, John started to see Jesus through a filter of discouragement and confusion. Jesus wasn’t acting as John and others who had studied the prophets expected. So in Matthew 11, we read that the imprisoned John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
We might expect Jesus to be upset by John’s doubt, but He wasn’t. He simply told John’s disciples, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, … the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
But there’s more to this story. After John’s disciples left, Jesus praised John—the one who was sitting in prison doubting whether Jesus was really the Christ. Jesus told the crowd, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”
Many of us today view Jesus and this celebration of His birth through filters of doubt, discouragement, worry, physical illness, and or any number of other filters. And Jesus loves us, just as He loved John, despite those filters.
But how much fuller our enjoyment of Christmas could be if we could remove all those filters and say with John when he first saw Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”