The rule of expectation: We find what we look for. In social psychology this is called a confirmation bias.
John—the man who baptized Jesus, who boldly called out: “there goes the Lamb of God,” and called the authorities “a brood of vipers”—now sat in jail, waiting to die.
He sent some of his followers to ask Jesus: is this all for real?
Jesus didn’t say “yes.” That kind of answer would just come under assault again.
Instead, he points him to the facts: What have you seen? he asks (Matthew 11:1-6).
John, like others, was expecting a ruler to slay the dragons. And Jesus, he correctly proclaimed, was that ruler.
Only Jesus didn’t slay the dragons. Or, rather, he didn’t slay the dragons John and the others had in mind.
But in the process, he slew bigger, deeper dragons. Ones that have a reach much farther than their now dissipated first-century oppressors.
Jesus’ reply pointed John toward that. Toward reality.
Questions and doubts are part of life. That’s our confirmation bias (the should) rubbing against our reality (the is).
The fix, Jesus says, is to look at what God is doing. The reality.