Reading: Matthew 11:2-12
Verse 6: “Blessed is the man [or woman] who does not fall away on account of me.”
Returning to Matthew 11 today we delve a little deeper. In verses 7-11 Jesus reminds those there that day about who and what John the Baptist was. He first describes John by describing what he was not. John was not a swaying reed. John knew 100% what his calling was and he spoke the truth to all as he filled his divine role. John was not dressed in fine clothes and he did not live in a palace. John was radically different from the religious leaders of his day. And, Jesus says, he was more: “Yes, I tell you, more than a prophet.” Jesus gives John the Baptist high praise.
Yet Jesus is also aware that John is asking Jesus himself if he is really the one. John, like the rest of us, has doubts. These rise up as he sits imprisoned. I think that is why Jesus gives John’s disciples a two-part answer. In verses 4-5 Jesus gives the religious head answer. All that Jesus has done and will do aligns with John’s understanding of scripture. The second part is the heart answer. In verses 7-10 Jesus is reassuring John, indirectly telling him that he made not just the right choice but the best choice. Jesus recognizes John for sticking to the choice to serve God no matter what life brings.
Verse 6 is aimed at this choice. Here Jesus states, “Blessed is the man [or woman] who does not fall away on account of me.” Before launching into the “why” of verses 7-10, Jesus reminds John that he is blessed even though imprisoned. Yes, Jesus says, “there has not risen anyone greater.” But don’t forget the bigger, longer picture. The blessing of eternity with God is the end result of faithful living. There is no greater reward or blessing. Jesus reminds John and us of this truth. So may we too walk faithfully, ever making the best choice – the one to follow Jesus Christ no matter what.
Prayer: Lord God, give me the courage and inner strength to faithfully walk each day. When the hard or difficult or costly choices and decisions come, lead me to choose the path that Christ would have walked. May it ever be so, O Lord. Amen.