18. Being aware of all that was happening with Jesus, John's disciples went to visit him in prison to tell him everything that they had heard about it. After listening to their reports, he called aside two of them,
19. and sent them to Jesus to ask, "Are you really the One who was to come...the One we've been expecting...or should we face the reality that we need to expect someone else?"
20. When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to You to ask this...are You really the One who was to come…the One the prophets talked about…the One we’ve been expecting…the Christ? Or should we part with our illusions concerning You, and start to look for someone else who fits that description?"
21. Ironically, they were asking this while Jesus was in the middle of conducting a meeting...a meeting in which He was curing many who had diseases, releasing those who were under the control of rebel spirits, and giving sight to many who were blind.
22. So Jesus temporarily stopped ministering to the sick, and replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind are receiving their sight, the lame are walking, those who have leprosy are being cleansed, the deaf are hearing, even the dead are being raised, and the good news is being proclaimed to the disenfranchised and the destitute.
23. And blessed is anyone who accepts this as My validation, without offense because of their perception of Me, and does not even think of asking such a question."
24. After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John, before anyone could form a negative opinion because of this exchange of words...before anyone could bring an accusation against John due to his obvious doubt and insolence. He said to them, "Just what did you think you were going to see out there in the wilderness? A little, non-confrontational weakling who doesn’t speak his mind…a reed swayed by the wind?
25. If not, then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in expensive clothes…a sell-out for the religious establishment? No, those who wear fine and expensive clothes...who indulge in luxury...are found in palaces. A shaky reed would never have the nerve to challenge Me in this way.
26. So then, what did you go out to see? A prophet? No doubt…that’s what you wanted to see, and that’s indeed what you did see. But, I tell you…this man, regardless of the mental battle he may be having right now in that lonely prison cell…is still a prophet…more than a prophet, in fact…he is a prophet, and then some!
27. This is the man about whom Malachi wrote: 'I will send my messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.'
28. Here's the truth about John...among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater in history. Yet, in this kingdom, which he, in fact, introduced to you…in this new paradigm where the first shall be last, and the last shall be first…the order of things will be so radically changed, that whoever is perceived to be the least important…the least significant…the least worthy in the Kingdom of God, is actually greater than he!
29. The ordinary people...the disreputable...even the tax collectors...all the people who heard John, by being baptized by him into Kingdom-consciousness, are the clearest evidence that He was the genuine article.
30. But the Pharisees and religious leaders would have nothing to do with such a baptism and paradigm shift...they wouldn't think of giving up their place in line to those whom they considered to be their inferiors."
31. Jesus went on to say, "To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? How can I describe and account for them?
32. They are like spoiled children sitting in the marketplace, and calling out to each other, saying, 'We played instruments for you, but you didn't dance; and then we sang a funeral dirge, but you didn't cry.'
33. These people, and people like them, are never satisfied. Think about it...John came into the public eye fasting, and you called him a raving lunatic because of his hermetic lifestyle.
34. The Son of Man, on the other hand, accepted the invitation to every party, and socialized with every segment of society, and you called Him an unrestrained, gluttonous alcoholic...a friend of low-lifes.
35. But wisdom is proved right by all her children...vindicated by the lives of those who follow her."