It is common for visionaries to get ridiculed for their willingness to exceed the bounds of what is obvious and expected. Reaching for new insights and sharing them with others may appear reckless or useless or even dangerous to some. But we need visionaries to build on the promise that awaits, to yield the blessing that would be for us and for many.
Haggai answers several questions that have left God's people inert before their wrecked city. Back from Babylon for about 20 years, Jerusalemites have despaired of things improving and regard themselves as weak and powerless before the huge demands of re-building the city and its once-glorious Temple.
Haggai reminds them that God will be with them, that God has done even more for them - remember the Exodus - so God has a track record, and God will provide the resources if God's people will have faith and act. From other sources, we know that they do.
Jesus has entered Jerusalem and is raising eyebrows with his teaching in the Temple. He drew a cluster of leading priest, scribes, and elders who challenge his authority to teach as he does, a message that is not in accord with the script of the elite powerful.
Jesus answers the question with a question: How do you regard John the Baptist's baptism - a blessing from God or a contrivance of human origin? Jesus takes his authority as one called to carry forward John's message of the coming Kingdom, understanding himself in the role of the Son of Man. Jesus know that he is building on the promise of God first announced by John.
The powerful leaders are put in a tough spot by Jesus' response. Their answer is pretty lame.
Building on the promise means embracing a vision for what is neither obvious nor expected. Then it requires faithful action to advance it toward completion and fulfillment. That's where the promise yields its blessing - for the faithful, actor, and for many others who also stand to be blessed.
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