“When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11:2
What was John thinking? What would I have been thinking if I had been in his shoes?
Here’s a guy, Jesus’ cousin, who grew up knowing that he was the messenger who would go before the Lord preparing the way for him. He grew up in the desert and in the Spirit — until he publicly appeared to Israel.
John was obedient yet he ended up in prison. Furthermore, his ministry was pretty much complete – Christ had come. Jesus’ reputation was now being talked about among the people as he taught in the temples, healed the sick and did other miracles, like feeding more than 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish.
John may have come to a moment of doubt and perhaps also a moment where he found it difficult to let go — letting someone else, even Jesus, take his place of recognition.
John was called by God as the messenger that would precede Christ but he still had to deal with his humanity — his insecurities, ego and emotions.
Was it difficult for him to finally step back ushering in the Messiah.
Did he feel abandoned — especially when he ended up in prison?
We are all confronted with sides of ourselves — weaknesses — even during (and maybe even especially) during our service to the Lord. It can be hard to step back and let someone else step forward into visibility and recognition.
Jesus’ entire ministry focused outward on others — they were the object of his attention, love, mercy, grace and correction.
I am supposed to do that too, yet often, my attention is focused inward on myself. How is what I’m doing impacting me? What do others see? Is God in this with me? Are they my plans and not his? At times I lack security and assurance of even what I think is God’s purpose for my life.
John was strong in the Spirit yet he, during a crisis, struggled — so he called out to Jesus for reassurance.
That is what I need to do during my struggles and insecurities. I need to call out to Jesus.
I need a relationship with him that is longterm and sustaining — not one that is fleeting. I need to be focused, intentional and committed to my relationship with Jesus, because by knowing him, I also will know his desires for me and his promises for my life.
For assurance that I am on his path I need to measure my walk through life by the guidebook of his word — and have all my choices confirmed or unconfirmed by scripture.
For encouragement and help in the fight against my own inner struggles I need his correction. Jesus’ response to John was “look what I”m doing — healings and miracles — be assured that I am the Messiah. Don’t fall away from what you’ve believed — I am He.
Let me hear your conviction, Holy Spirit. Let my ears be open to hearing your voice. Let me see what you are doing.
Jesus continues to heal and do miracles today — in my own life. I must continually look back at these wonders for encouragement and remember his great love for me and to see and continually worship his majesty.
“As John’s disciples were leaving Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings palaces. Then what 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.
I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you. Matthew 11:7-10
Jesus is faithful in his love for me…and he is faithful to lift me up.