Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

The Lord at the Sea of Galilee. John the Baptist's imprisonment and inquiry

- Chapter 143 -
The Lord's works during the apostle's absence. More details about John the Baptists' doubts about Jesus' Messiahship. John's inquiry of the Lord Himself. The Lord's answer.

fter the disciples left the place where I gave them instructions, as outlined, I remained there till sunset, blessing the poor little folk and its small children; whereupon I then moved onwards a little with the numerous remaining disciples who were about Me, to the towns upon the Galilean Sea, from where some of these were natives and residents; and there I taught and preached what I had commanded the twelve to teach and preach and everywhere healed the sick. (Matt. 11:1)
But John, who had baptised on the Jordan, had by then been already thrown into prison by Herod and that through the priests' of Jerusalem's lobbying, having made strong representations to Herod toward that end; for they could not forgive John for having denounced them as serpents and a generation of vipers. But they did not themselves dare to attack the preacher in the desert, for they were mindful of his being regarded by the people as a great prophet; hence they got at Herod, through gold and through all kinds of official ordinances and Herod had him arrested under the pretext of one insane, who was stirring up the people with subversive ideas and driving them crazy in many ways.
But basically Herod was not concerned so much with the substance of John's teaching as making a good haul. Therefore did Herod not confine John too strictly, but allowed everybody access to John in prison, for a reasonable fee; recognised disciples of the Baptist had to pay only a stater per week, whilst others had to pay a silver crown for just a day's visit.
And Herod did not forbid John to preach and make as big a noise as possible, in a large hall which had been converted to a large public prison; for it brought in that much more money for Herod.
Herod often went to see John and even encouraged him to make yet more noise than he did in the desert at Bethabara, since he was now safe from the priests and Pharisees and he even confided being a friend and protector of John's.
John was indeed aware in his spirit as to whom he was dealing with in Herod; but he made use of such opportunity and kept on preaching in prison and his disciples had unhindered access to him, naturally for the minimal fee of a stater per week. Priests from the Temple had to pay a pound if they wanted to see John and when they queried Herod on why he let John continue preaching in prison, the cunning fox of a Herod replied, 'This I do for state security, in order to track down all the followers of this threatening extremist!' For such answer the priests praised Herod beyond measure and showered him with gold, silver and precious stones. For they reasoned: this is our man; him we must support in every way, for he is destined to rid us of all this prophetic rabble.
But Herod, a Greek by birth, was only after the money and was not in the least concerned about anything else. Next to money, only the most beautiful concubines mattered. On their account he even could show cruelty, if these desired it; but otherwise no one got anything out of him without money; but for money he was available for every contingency.
From this authentic description of Herod, it shall become clear to all how John could have his disciples around him in prison and how through his disciples as well as others visiting him frequently, he could be kept in touch with My action in Galilee.
Since John found out in prison therefore how I taught and acted, he sent two of his most experienced disciples to Me (Matt. 11:2) to ask Me: 'Are You indeed the One Who was to come, or are we to wait for another?' (Matt. 11:3)
Here it will be asked and said, 'How could John, who at first gave Me the greatest testimony, came to ask a question like that?' The reason for anyone who could think just one span above the material was most simple and even most natural.
At the time of John's getting acquainted with Me, he also fully comprehended that I incontrovertibly was the promised Messiah and that through My mere appearance already, the entire Jewish nation was as good as redeemed and that the power of the worldly great was finished forever. When however he ended up in prison, being ever more convinced as the days went by that with My appearance, the power of the worldly great not only had not ceased but only increased, then even John began to slightly and quietly doubt My authenticity.
For he reckoned; if this Jesus of Nazareth really is the promised the Son of the living God, how can He now let me down and not free me from prison and how could He allow it to happen?
Yet he then heard from those who visited him what unheard-of deeds I was performing and so he then dispatched the two of his most experienced disciples to Me, Who put the above questions to Me.
I however, knowing quite well the reason for his having Me questioned thus, answered the disciples with brevity, saying to them; 'Go and tell John what ye see and hear (Matt. 11:4). The blind see, the lame walk, the leprous are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead arise and the poor have the Gospel preached to them (Matt. 11:5). And blessed will be they who shall not be offended in Me.' (Matt. 11:6) The two disciples did not know what to say to Me.