Just this afternoon I had a conversation with two women, Sue and Rosemary, from a local church who are planning to run the Alpha course. I've been heavily involved with Alpha for the last two years and they were asking me for advice. From my perspective they have already done a good job in preparing to run the course but they are well aware of the fact that they aren't quite "there" yet. Having never run Alpha leaves them with doubts. We see something similar in this week's Gospel.
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:2-11
The disciples of John the Baptist were surely struggling to grasp the meaning of his imprisonment. They had followed him with willing hearts. They witnessed the crowds responding to his message of repentance. Then John was arrested. In the midst of all this they faithfully sought Jesus with a measure of hope and perhaps doubt about who He was.
When Jesus told them to witness about what they had heard and seen, things became clear. John's disciples experienced Jesus, the One. Not only did they experience Jesus but they knew of His works as well. Being out in front of Jesus with John the Baptist was a challenging task. These disciples had to trust in John and more importantly trust in the promise of the coming Christ.
Sue and Rosemary also need to trust in the promise of the coming Christ - in the Alpha course. Until the participants come to the course and meet Jesus and see His works they can't know. It is up to Sue, Rosemary and their team to prepare the way... That takes great faith, the same kind of faith that John the Baptist and his disciples demonstrated. The key is in the answer to John's original question. Is it really you? Are you the One?
If we believe that Jesus is the One we are all called to prepare the way for Jesus in the lives of the people Jesus brings across our path. Jesus does the rest because He is the One!