In Matthew chapter 11, John the Baptist was in prison for preaching the truth. Jesus was now headlong into his ministry, healing the sick, restoring sight, raising the dead, and more. John sends some of his disciples to Jesus, from prison, with this question:
Matthew 11:2-3 2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
“Should we keep looking for someone else?” Why would John ask that? This was the same John who once said about Jesus, “He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less.” He said about Jesus that He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Another time John said about Jesus that, “I’m not even worthy to untie His sandals.” That same John the Baptist asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah or should we keep looking for someone else?” So again, why would he ask that?
I think John was experiencing doubt! Here he was, stuck in prison for doing what God called him to do. John was the prophet that God raised up to “prepare the way for the Lord.” John was the messenger who was preparing people to open their lives to Jesus. At one point, Jesus even said about John, “of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist.” So according to Jesus, none was greater than John and yet even John had doubts.
When John asked, “should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus answered in Matthew 11:4-6 Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”
When you do some digging you learn that Jesus was quoting Old Testament prophecies about the signs of the Messiah. Of more interest is the one sign He leaves out. One of the signs of the Messiah was that He would “set the captives free.” Jesus didn’t quote that one and in doing so was saying to John, “Yes I am the Messiah, but I’m not going to be releasing you from prison. You need to be faithful to me all the way to the end.” WOW! Even John had doubts, and Jesus didn’t criticize him for it but encouraged him to be faithful to the end.
I don’t know what you’re currently facing that is causing you to doubt in your life, all I know is this: God blesses those who do not fall away because of Jesus (and what He does or doesn’t do on their behalf).
If you’ve ever struggled with doubts, then you can say “I’m like John the Baptist.” Just make sure you be like him and remain faithful to the end!