Matthew 11:1-6 (ESV) - When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
The archaic definition of the word doubt is “fear or being afraid.” This speaks volumes when you consider the many ways that doubt affects our lives… fear of loss, inadequacy, or change. Fear of failure, lack of control, or missing out on something important. Yes, the struggle is real.
Consider John the Baptist. His solid faith in God’s purpose for his life sustained him through thick and thin. Yet, John's sudden loss of freedom must have created a perfect storm of uncertainty. He was not immune to doubt, so it’s no wonder that he sent a messenger to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
This question came from the same person who not too long before had boldly proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" (John 1:29)
But let's not judge John too harshly. Overall, shouldn't we agree that a dark prison cell can quickly stifle confidence, and there are moments when it’s not unusual to question what we think we know?
Jesus graciously responded to John’s question without rebuke and instead answered with testimonial encouragement… “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Jesus reminded John about the Truth that He already knew. And if we are honest... sometimes we all need to be reminded that God keeps His promises. If you are uncertain about God, watch for His work in and around your life. There is no discouragement in the testimony of what God has already done, what He is doing, and what He will do. God always completes what He starts.
The last part of the passage requires a bit of word study…
“And blessed is the one who is not offended by me,” is better translated from the original language as… “Blessed is the one who does not fall away because they refuse to believe me."
God understands the finite imagination of humanity. He knows that fragile human faith is limited to things that can be seen. This is troubling because misplaced faith blurs our eternal vision, and we begin to stumble around in shadowy doubt. Doubt emphasizes our spiritual deficiency and fear cries out for a Savior. The Truth… doubt can only be overcome by the author and finisher of saving faith – Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (The Message) - Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
God’s plan of salvation is complete. He provides everything we need for life and godliness, including saving faith. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, all shadows fade away. In the end, doubt becomes deficient, and our confidence in God is strengthened. Jesus is all that we need.
Jude 1:25… Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Remember this, you are loved, and you are always in my prayers.
In Christ, Cheryl