Jesus responds to John
Jesus’s response to this question is intriguing. He doesn’t say “Yes, I am the Messiah” or “No, you should wait for another”. He seemingly just tells them what has been up to. And yet he is doing much more than this. In talking about things such as his healing of the blind and his making of the deaf to hear and the lame to walk, he is using the language of Old Testament prophecy. Here are two excerpts from Isaiah:
In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
Jesus’s response to John is therefore nothing less than a claim to be the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophesied about the Messiah. He was doing precisely what the Messiah was supposed to be doing. Jesus used the Scripture to explain who he was and to correct John’s misconceptions and misgivings about him.