2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of[his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
~ Matthew 11: 2-3
I am sure like me, you must have read this passage many times. And yet, when I read it today, I took a double take.
Are you sure? John, the super-duper prophet, wondering if Jesus was really the Coming One…
And if even he is open to doubts, then what about us?
Do you suffer from periods where you wonder … is this for real? Is this the truth? What if I am wrong and they are right?
Have I believed wrongly? What if I am the one that is deluded and having the veil across my face?
How can I be really sure?
I think this is an appropriate question for all of us to think about especially today. Just before church service today, some of us were talking about how some believers no longer believed in the church and some have even openly declared, “why I am no longer a christian”.
So here we have John, the fiery preacher who boldly urged the people to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”. One who rebuked the Pharisees… and one whom Jesus said is the messenger who has come to prepare the way for Him. This was no ordinary prophet.
He was prophesied about by Isaiah and Malachi. And he baptised Jesus and saw the Father speak and saw the Spirit descend as a dove.
Bit now we are mystified.
Why was he asking these questions? Why was he now questioning if Jesus is the one who was to come or should he expect another?
How could he—of all people—be unsure about Jesus?”
John was at this time in prison for exposing king Herod’s horrid sin. And I am guessing that locked away in jail, waiting and wondering when he will be sentenced gave him a lot of time to think and reflect on his life and ministry. And as he thought, he would be thinking about his preaching and then about Jesus who is the Messiah. Although he heard of Jesus’ preaching and miracles, he started to wonder why is it that the kingdom is still not here yet. Why is it that the Romans still rule? Why is it that all these Scribes and Pharisees, the Herods … are still getting away with their usual sinful practices…
And usually that’s when Satan takes advantage of us in our vulnerable state.
When things do not go according to what we imagine it should be like, we start to shake and shiver. We start to doubt and flail about.
‘Cause if Satan could do that to John the Baptist, he could surely do that to us too.
There are times we will have our doubts too, right?
How could creation be true when there seems so much science or films and books that debunk it?
Did Jesus really resurrect? Was it a hoax? Did you not read The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons?
What about our church? Is it really true? Could recent events and teachings show otherwise?
The problem when we start to doubt and reject certain things in our faith, Satan will jump right in and start bullying us even more.
Who says Foot Washing is needed for salvation? Are you sure you need to speak in tongues when you receive the Holy Spirit? Come on… surely a saint like mother Theresa deserves to go to heaven….
So as we sit in our lonely jail like John the Baptist – we are being deceived by Satan to ask a similar question today … “Jesus, are You and Your Church really who You say You are… or is there another?”
The response from Jesus to John’s question was quite direct:
4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and thedeaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
~ Matthew 11:4 – 6
Jesus just told John to look at His mighty acts.
In fact, He told John what he already knew. John had already heard about the works of Christ. And Jesus told him what he already knew.
What does it tell us?
We already know the words of God and His testimonies.
And when we doubt or wonder… and have moments of weakness like John where we question even though we know… go back to the Bible. Read what it says about Jesus and His church. See the miracles. Ponder over the truths that were taught once and for all .. according to the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets.
Jesus is who He said He is. So is the Church.
We just have to believe and focus on Jesus … always.
May God have mercy on us.