“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’ “
The greatest prophet to be born of women was John the Baptist. And here he was, in prison now for calling King Herod out for marrying his brothers wife...and she didn’t like that at all, so John ends up behind bars. That’s what he gets for having unquestionable integrity and courage, I guess.
But this great man was moved to doubt whether or not Jesus was the Man that he thought He was. Sad. The devil will stoop to any level, with anyone, won’t he? He must have had to work on ol’ John pretty hard though, right? I’m sure that he didn’t have John wondering right away. But he eventually broke the prophet down, and John sent some of his friends to ask Jesus if He was, in fact, the Messiah.
Jesus gave a very interesting answer. He basically told them to be witnesses to the amazing miracles that were being performed, and to let that speak for itself. The healings and exorcisms, the resurrections and the preaching...wait...the preaching? Yes. The gospel was being preached alongside the amazing works of Jesus.
What does the gospel include? A couple things, I believe. The obvious and well-known part about the fact that God sent His Son to die for our sins. But didn’t the apostles also preach the gospel, and say something else along with it? Yes! In Acts 2:38 Peter concludes his sermon with these words, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized...for the remission of sins...” And Jesus Himself began His ministry with the same message, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14. Repentance should accompany the preaching of the good news of salvation.
Here is where you’ll be able to discern between true revival, and false. Not the signs and wonders, but the preaching of repentance towards God. Some today will say that it is all simply faith and nothing more. But the Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit attends those messages that include the teaching that God expects obedience to His holy law. Jesus includes this preaching with the miracles that He did, and expected that to be enough evidence that John could make up his mind about whether or not Jesus is truly the Christ. It made sense to John, for his very own message was the same, “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mark 1:4.