Three times in this portion of scripture Jesus asks the question:
“… what went ye out for to see?”
After each time Jesus asked this question He added another to it.
1. (v.24) “… What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?”
Some of these people perhaps went out to see John to ridicule him. To see if he would tremble and shake in the sight of their oppression. But they arrived only to see as Jesus declared not a shaken reed, but one that was firmly established in his faith and proclamation of Christ that even Herod could not shake.
2. (v.25) “But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?”
Some of these people perhaps went out to see John as someone well clothed making a good living materially for his ministry as they had seen the Pharisees so often do.
But God rebuked them by speaking of the humility of this man. John’s ambitions were not for an increase in material gain, but his ambitions lay in turning money of Herod to Christ.
3. (v.26) “But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? …”
Some of these people perhaps went out to see only a prophet. Never considering the message that he proclaimed.
Here was a man whose life of faithfulness and stability glorified Christ, a life of concern for magnifying Christ more than to receiving material gain, a life that wholly proclaimed Christ.
Jesus asks this same question today – “What went ye out for to see?”
Will we go out only to see the man or hear the message and forget the one he magnifies?
Let us with those honest seekers of old, when they came to Philip and Andrew, have only one goal in mind – “We would see Jesus.”
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his glorious face,
and the things of the earth will grow