When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
In today’s reading John the Baptizer is in prison, and he sends his disciples to ask if Jesus is the Messiah. This is interesting because John already knows who Jesus is. Earlier John had baptized Jesus and heard the voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) So why did John send his disciples to ask if Jesus is the Messiah? John was in prison and I suspect he was discouraged and having doubts. Jesus sends word back to John telling him all that he is doing. According to one translation (in Matthew 11:6), Jesus says, “Whoever doesn’t lose his faith in me is indeed blessed”.
This is an encouraging passage, because if John the Baptizer can have doubts when he has seen and heard proof that Jesus is the Messiah, then it is even more natural that you and I will have doubts, also. And when John has doubts Jesus says to him (and to each of us), if in time of doubt we hold fast to our faith then we are indeed blessed.