After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
—Matthew 11:1-6, NIV
They ask Jesus, “Are you the one?” and He replies, “Can’t you see by what I am doing? Can’t you tell from that?”
Jesus did not have his disciples construct a throne for Him, so that He could be exalted as the Messiah in the manner of a department store Santa Claus. He didn’t receive clients in an office lined with certificates. When He was asked if He was the Messiah, He didn’t whip out His personal ID card. Instead, He demonstrated that He was the Messiah in His words and His deeds.
Jesus continually warned us that we are judged by the fruit we bear. Anybody can tie a tag onto a tree that says “apple tree,” but only a true apple tree can bear apples. In the same way, anyone can call themselves a Christian, attend church every Sunday, memorize Bible verses and learn all the hymns. Anyone can learn when to kneel, when to stand, when to shout amen! But only a true Christian bears the fruit of a Christian.
You don’t have to watch television to know that there are a lot of mislabeled trees in God’s orchard. Some of them aren’t even fruit trees! It’s as if an enemy came by and switched all the tags! So God plans to distinguish them by the fruit they bear and not by the labels that are tied on them.
If the King, who is obligated to no one, would live in accordance with His claims, don’t you think that He would require the same thing from those who claim to be His loyal subjects? So examine your life and make sure that in calling yourself a Christian, you haven’t taken His name in vain. When they asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah?” He didn’t have to convince them, he just pointed to His works: the blind who could see, the deaf who could hear, the lepers who were cleansed, the lame who could walk, the dead who were raised, and the poor who hear the good news.
You are surrounded by people who need someone to point out the providence of God, who need someone to tell them the good news, who as social lepers need someone to befriend them, who are lamed by misfortune and need healing, who need someone to resurrect them from their sins and trespasses, and who need someone to intervene in the poverty of their souls and finances. If someone came to you and said, “Are you a Christian?” Could you point to these needy people and say, “Take a look: the blind can see, the deaf can hear, the leper is befriended, the lame can walk, the spiritually dead are born again, and the poor have heard good news.” Or would you just whip out your baptismal certificate?
Some people love to show off their credentials, without realizing what that says about them. If you want to buy a certain type of fruit tree, you only look at the tag if the tree is bare. If the tree has apples on it, it is an apple tree; you don’t need to check the tag.You are part of the body of Christ in this world. Look around you at all the work that needs to be done! Don’t be the part of the body that does all the sitting around.