Summary: John’s disciples could have been biased against Christ, because of His mounting popularity, and the lessening of their master’s.
(20) Jesus Allayas John’s Doubts
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
“Behold,”-A word that was used to call special attention to the significant truths that follow. The question had been asked, “Where is the God of judgment?” “Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” (Malachi 2:17) The unbelief of the Jewish people would not prevent our Heavenly Father from keeping His covenant, and bringing about those things that they believed would never come to pass.
“I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come,”-The Father sends the Son and the Son comes. “My messenger” is John the Baptist, and “the messenger of the covenant” is Christ. John’s calling was to prepare the way for Christ to come and present Himself as Messiah.
“the LORD”-God is the spokesman, and He designates “the Lord,” the “messenger of the covenant.” He said, “I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me,” making the Lord and God one and the same; in that way confirming Christ’s divinity and oneness with the Father. The temple is referred to as “His temple”, marking His divine lordship over it.
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, (Matthew 11:2)
“Now when John had heard in the prison”- John the Baptist is the person that is spoken about. At this point in time, he was in the prison of Machaerus, because Herod had him under arrest for speaking out against him taking Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. While he was there, this account pertaining to Christ was brought to him by his disciples.
“the works of Christ,”-Meaning the miracles He had done, such as healing the centurions servant, raising the Widow of Nain’s son from the dead, and so on.
“he sent two of his disciples,”-John’s disciples could have been biased against Christ, because of His mounting popularity, and the lessening of their master’s. They may not have been convinced that He was the Massiah, despite all they had heard and seen, and what they had been told by John. Most likely, two were sent, so that they would be more credible witnesses: and it was for the disciple’s sake, not for John’s.
And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3)
“And said unto him,”-The disciples informed to him, of the response Christ had given to the question that John had told them to ask.
“Art thou he that should come,”-That was just another way of asking if He was the Massiah. He had been called many things by the prophets of the Old Testament; Shiloh, the Redeemer, the Prophet and the King. John wanted the question asked, but he could not have been unaware of who He was, because He had seen the heavens open and heard the voice of God speak, and he had pointed Him out to his disciples as the Lamb of God. It was for the benefit of his disciples that he asked, so that they could hear it from His own lips, and would join themselves to Him. John was close to the end of his life, and had done God’s will as the predecessor of Christ.
“or do we look for another?”-John and the Jews were looking for a deliverer. It may have been that the question came from his impatience from being in prison, and he expected the Messiah to liberate him and deliver the nation, so the question was “are you the Massiah, or should we look for another?”
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: (Matthew 11:4)
“Jesus answered and said unto them,”-John had been asked the same question, and he had answered emphatically, “NO!” And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” (John 1:20-21) He may have expected the same type of answer from Jesus.