The message of John

The message of John

John Baptist’s question. Jesus’ Testimony to him.

(The Gospel History, Section 46)

And the disciples of John told him of all these things. And when John heard in the prison the works of the Christ, he called unto him two of his disciples, and sent them unto the Lord, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another? And when the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another? In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered and said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings preached unto them. And blessed is he whosoever shall find none occasion of stumbling in me.

The message of John

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book I Poem V)

Prisoner in fortress by Dead Sea—
Whose waters all the living flee,—
The Baptist, Bedouin in heart,
Wilderness bred nor having part
With them who live shut in by walls,
(Abhorrent lot his soul appals),
Confined the Baptist lay; his past
O’er him its shifting shadows cast;
The shadows only came that day;
No past so bright, its light may play
Upon our hours of desolate gloom;
And John for hope could find no room,
Or joy, in all his retrospect!
Not now with gladness might reflect
On multitudes that came to hear,
And be baptized ere Christ appear!
Delusion was it, then, that call
He thought he answered, yielding all?
And that dear moment at the Pool,
He met Messias,—like a fool
Had he let hope, fallacious, blind
Him to the truth? Had his own mind
Fashioned the Christ he fain would find?
Disciples came to see him still,
Allowed of Herod, at their will;
These told him all the land was filled
With fame of Jesus; how He willed,
And, lo, all human ills were cured,—
The very dead to life restored!
Perchance they told with asking eye,—
Would he, their Master, bid them fly,
Proclaim that this was Christ in truth,
Or that delusion had in sooth
Possessed the people’s heart? Behold,
How secret thoughts like flowers unfold,
And after their own kind make fruit!
What had the Baptist said should bruit
His faithless questionings forth to men?
But, let a thought prevail, and then,
Shouted from housetop, lo, the word
Scarce by thy secret soul was heard!
Now, see, occasion at his hand;
John sends the two with curt demand,—
“Art Thou indeed Messias, sent,
Or for another look we?”


With all the speed they made, the two
(Had journeyed half the country through),
All travel-worn and breathless came
To where Christ was: the blind, the lame,
The sick, the sad, had gathered there,
Whose woful state addressed a prayer
To Him, the Merciful: nor stayed
John’s messengers, on whom was laid
Their master’s urgent hest, till He
From doing good at leisure, be;
They cried out with insistence rude,
“John Baptist sent us to Thee,” (crude
In thought and rough in speech were they),
“His word, Art He that cometh, say,
Or for another do we wait?”
Their petulant speech Christ heard; and straight,
In that same hour He many healed
Of sin and sickness, plagues revealed
In eye of day: and then He spake;—
“Hence, to your master; with you take
True tale of that ye’ve seen and heard;
Lepers are cleansed; deaf, hear the word;
The blind receive their sight; the dead
Are raised to life; the poor man hears
Good News with unaccustomed ears:
Tell John these signs; he knows to read;
And add this word:—When occasions breed
Doubt and disloyalty to Me,
Who stumbleth not in darkness, he
Is blessed; and him I name My friend
Who trusts Me constant to the end!”

The people heard word of reproof
To Baptist sent: for their behoof
Christ witnessed of His servant John;—
Like commendation, who hath won?

St. Luke vii. 17-24.
St. Matthew xi. 2-6.