In praise of John the Baptist

After Jesus finished giving instructions to his disciples, he left that area so that he could teach in the cities that he was going to send them to.

John’s disciples brought him reports about everything that Jesus was doing when John was in prison. John sent two of them to Jesus to ask him “Are you the one we have been waiting for, or should we keep looking?”

Jesus was healing many people of physical and mental illness at this time. He answered their question “Report back to John everything that you have seen and heard – the blind are able to see, the lame can now walk, skin diseases are cleared up, the deaf can now hear, the dead are raised back to life, and the good news is preached to the poor. Also tell him this – anyone who is not outraged by who I am is happy.”

After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to talk about John to the crowds. “What were you hoping to find when you went into the wilderness to see John? A reed swaying in the wind? Or perhaps a man dressed in fancy clothing? People who have glorious robes and live in luxury are in palaces. So what did you go to see? A prophet? Yes, mark my words, he’s that and far more. John is the one that the ancient prophets wrote about with these words – ‘Listen! I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare the way before you.’
Mark my words, no prophet ever born is greater than John the Baptist, but even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.”

MT 11:1-11, LK 7:18-28

“The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully and rapidly coming closer from the time John began preaching until now, and violent people have tried to hamper it by trying to take it by force. All the laws and the prophets pointed to this time, and if you’re able to believe it, he is the Elijah who was foretold. Listen closely to this!”

MT 11:12-15

And when everyone heard this, they praised God because John had baptized them. But since the Pharisees and the experts in religious law had not been baptized by John, they rejected God’s plan for them.

LK 7:29-30

The cure for anxiety

Because of this I’m telling you – don’t worry about anything about your life or regarding your body. Don’t worry about what you will have to eat or drink or wear. Life is about much more than food or clothing. Think about the ravens – they don’t sow or reap or store up their food, and yet God provides for them. Don’t you know you are more valuable than them? Can anyone add even a minute to his life by worrying? If worry can’t change the little things, then why worry about the big things?

Why worry about what you’re going to wear? Think about the wildflowers – they don’t earn money for clothing or make thread, yet they are more beautifully clothed than King Solomon ever was! If that is how God adorns grass, which is temporary and insubstantial, won’t he do much more for you – you who don’t believe?

So don’t be anxious about what you are going to eat or drink or wear – those are the kinds of things that people who don’t believe in God focus on. Your Father in heaven knows of your needs.

Instead of striving for those things, strive for the kingdom of God, and then everything you need will be provided for you. Don’t be anxious, because your heavenly Father gets great pleasure in giving you the kingdom. Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own to deal with.

MT 6:25-34, LK 12:22-32