I am reading through the book of Matthew in the Bible, and I came across this passage dealing with John the Baptist.
From Matthew 11:2-3
2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
As I read this passage, I wondered, did John the Baptist question who Jesus was? Did he doubt what he had been told by the Holy Spirit when he first saw Jesus?
John was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:15) and leaped for joy when Mary came to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:41). John was a man sent from God as a witness to testify about the light (John 1:6). A man in the spirit of God was listening to the voice of God testifying to the coming Christ.
John knew who Jesus was, for he was told by God (Matthew 3:13-17, John 1:29-34), and we also see that when Jesus comes to be baptized, John argues that it should be the other way around (Matthew 3:13-17).
So as I sat looking at this scripture, I wondered how could someone with that much proof straight from God Himself question or doubt? I think it may have had to do with where he was at the time of his question. He was sitting in jail. He hadn’t seen any of the things Jesus was doing but heard about them. And I am guessing he may have felt a little discouraged, to begin with, being in jail for speaking out against the king in the truth of what God had given him. He just needed to know it was Jesus doing these things, which helped his disciples know the truth as well.
What I love about this passage is Jesus response to John’s disciples:
4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the [a]gospel preached to them.
Jesus didn’t get upset with John or chastise him for asking the question. Jesus knew that John needed to be reminded of what Jesus had done, who He was. So Jesus said, “tell him what you have seen and heard. Be his eyes and ears that bear witness to all that has been done.”
What I learned from this passage is that we all can get discouraged by the circumstances around us. We question why things are happening and if God is there. We ask the why questions. Why am I going through this? Does God care or love me? I know these have been my recurring questions. And when I yell and scream these at God, He states, “look around you.” Look at your past, what I have brought you through, what I have done for you. Stop focusing on what is and the mess around you, and start focusing on who I am and have done.
I am learning that when I do this, things get a whole lot easier, and I find the peace that I lost when I was questioning and doubting who God is.