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Why did John the Baptist request for more proof? He asked, “Are you the Expected One, or should we expect another?” This is a puzzling question at face value, coming from John, because of his earlier statements about Jesus.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
Then John gave the testimony: I saw the Spirit of God come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. John 1:32
I have seen and testify that He is the Son of God.” John 1:34
So why did John ask for further evidence of Christ’s credentials as the Promised Messiah if he was previously convinced? Have you ever had such doubts? Do doubts mean we are not men and women of faith?
Some say John became discouraged while he was languishing in prison and needed assurance. In other words…he was experiencing the blues. Others have postulated that Jesus wasn’t carrying out His ministry the way John envisioned the Messiah should have. John’s mission had the distinct characteristic of judgment, while Jesus’ ministry had the distinction of mercy. Perhaps John was perplexed as to why Jesus ministry didn’t complement his ministry.
- Why hadn’t Jesus called down the wrath of God on sinners?
- Why hadn’t the King of Kings dethroned the despots of Roman tyranny?
- Why hadn’t Jesus abolished the hypocritical religious establishment?
If you look closely at the content of John’s preaching and character of his lifestyle… this could be the reason he was having doubts. Everyone else misunderstood Jesus…so why not John. Thankfully, Jesus had an answer for John and he has an answer for us today as well.
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me. Luke 7:4-6
Why didn’t Jesus just say… “Yes, I am the Messiah. Don’t worry John. Everything is on target.” Jesus didn’t take this approach, but the answer he gave John was even better. Jesus gave John evidence. Jesus gave John the same evidence to prove He was and is the Messiah as we have been given. Jesus reminded John of His mission and how He fulfilled scripture.
Yet still, some won’t believe in Jesus as the one sent from God. They say a skeptic is a person, who, when he sees the handwriting on the wall, claims it’s a forgery. You just have to wonder about some people – they think God is dead and Elvis is alive. The evidences Jesus listed in His answer to John were acts of compassion. It was what John needed to hear and it is what we need to hear some 2000 years later. The miracles of His public ministry were a precursor to His trip to the cross. There He would deal with mankind’s greatest problems – sin and death.
There is one more segment to Christ’s answer. “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Luke 7:6) The Greek word for “fall away” is “skandalizo”. It literally means “to trip up” or to “stumble“. Jesus is in effect saying to John, “John, don’t stumble over my willingness to heal, forgive, and have compassion on people. There will be a time for judgment, but now is the time for grace.” There are a lot of things we can get offended over in the religious world. People do a lot of crazy things in the name of the Lord. But Jesus Himself is NOT one of those issues we need to get offended over. If there is anything about Jesus’ ministry and life that offends you …change the way you believe.
This passage provides for help to those having doubts. It shows us step by step what to do for those having doubts.
1. Go to Jesus
The first thing John did when in doubt, he sent two disciples straight to talk to Jesus. Jesus didn’t chase them away or discourage them. He took their concerns seriously and gave them the evidence John needed to answer his doubts.
2. Remember The God of Your Youth
After Jesus had performed miracles, He answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see.” This reminds me of Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth.” Sometimes when we are plagued by doubts, we need to think back to the simple days of our youth. This was a time when we knew and believed that God made the Sun, the moon, and the stars. There is nothing wrong with returning back to a time when faith was simple.
3. Remember Your Salvation and Blessings
When we begin to doubt, we need to remember that we were once like the blind man, we were once walking around in darkness, we were as the leper, we were unclean and dead spiritually.
When you doubt, you need to think back to the day when you as a sinner maybe hooked on alcohol or hooked on drugs, living a life of adultery, living a life with no purpose, full of sin….. But you came to an altar and God Almighty delivered you, and cleansed your soul. Back in those days you had no doubt that there was a God because you felt His presence.
Several years ago a newspaper in Biloxi, Mississippi ran an article about an attempted suicide. A young woman apparently thought her life held no meaning so she jumped off a bridge into the waters of the Mississippi River.
A man nearby saw her jump, and without thinking, jumped in after her. It didn’t occur to him until after he was in the water that he couldn’t swim! Now there were two people in the water facing death. His screams for help and flailing limbs caught the attention of the young woman who pulled the drowning man to safety.
The writer of the newspaper article finished with this thought: “It wasn’t the gentleman who saved that woman’s life that night; it was purpose. No doubt, the man meant well. But what he provided for her was one moment where life offered meaning: the opportunity to save a man’s life. She had a clear purpose and objective… She tapped into the energy that was inside all the time when she finally linked up to a mission.”
Like John the Baptist, like the woman in the river, there will be times in our life when we too forget our purpose and reason for being. It is usually in these dark moments we begin to doubt and question God. If you find yourself in a dark place, return to the Lord and allow Him to restore your life. He loves you.