Are you the one who is to come? [bible/art/reflection]

Luke 7: 18b – 23    “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

Leonardo Da Vinci, “St John the Baptist with attributes of Bacchus” (1513 – 1519)

We can imagine John almost regretting the words he gave to his disciples as soon as they left to find Jesus. He, like many, and often like us, wanted confirmation. Has it come about? Is it him? Earlier in Luke’s Gospel the Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism with all the usual trappings that we know from the story – but did John the Baptist see this? Did he experience something that he couldn’t quite describe? A something that gave him hope but not perhaps certainty? 

“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

John had been waiting his whole life – and now something, but the small fearful voice speaks up: what if it’s not him? We too, wait. Waiting is an interesting spiritual activity for us to engage in when belong to a faith that proclaims a victory has been won. Waiting is a space in which we are allowed to grapple with doubt, with the ultimate eschatological end points and with our own relationship with God. Our hope can only be sustained when it is interrogated, just like John’s. 

What happens if we are to speak those words to Him, our Lord? 

“Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

We have to listen and look for his answer. What is our hope grounded on? What have we seen and heard? Where have we seen blindness become sight? Where have we seen the broken restored enough to move forward? Where have we seen poison drained from wounds? Where have we seen death restored to life? Have we proclaimed the Good News? Have we heard it, lately?

If we cannot put all of these pieces together just now, that’s alright. We wait and see. 

(by Danny Pegg)