Doubting Hearts Trusting God

Matthew 11:2-4
“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them….”

After all that had been said and done by the Lord up to this point, the scene was not so victorious from the perspective of John the Baptist. Being imprisoned by Herod, the voice of one crying in the wilderness was now swarmed by discouragement and loneliness. We don’t know his actual thoughts, but as John received word of all the miracles and wondrous works preformed by Jesus, it is no stretch to assume that John wondered why he remained in prison. So, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus a simple question. “Are you the Messiah, or should we look for someone else?”

By many, this question is said to be a “lapse of faith” on the part of John. However, there is no reprimanding in Jesus’ response. In His loving grace, He answers. What a comfort this is for all of us hard headed, high minded children of God. When we have questions our Lord answers.

Jesus answered by reminding John what exactly He was doing. Yes, He was performing miracles, but he was doing much more than that. He was fulfilling prophecy; He was doing what the prophets said the Messiah should do. In verses 5, the Lord goes through a list of His works almost as if He were taking inventory.

  • The blind see – Isaiah 35:5
  • The lame walk – Isaiah 35:6
  • Lepers are cleansed – Isaiah 53:4
  • The deaf hear – Isaiah 35:5
  • The dead are raised up – not prophesied of the Messiah; this superseded what the prophets expected
  • The gospel was being preached to the poor – Isaiah 61:1

Jesus reminded John, He did all that the prophets said He would do and more.

Then, the Lord tags on the statement, “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” (Verse 6) Had anyone else made a statement like that, it would have been considered boasting egotism. However, coming from Jesus, it was simply stating reality. Many of the Jews, and perhaps even John, were expecting their Messiah to be a military leader or a political revolutionary. Nevertheless, he was a humble Carpenter. A Carpenter that fulfilled Messianic prophesies, but a Carpenter nonetheless. So, Jesus explained, God’s blessing would come to those who, by spiritual insight, saw Jesus for who He truly was, the promised Messiah.

Lest we interpret verse 6 as a rebuke to John, we must remember those times in our lives when our faith needs confirmation. We constantly need to be strengthened. We need to know that we aren’t looking for another. We’ve found our Savior.

As William MacDonald commented:

“It is one thing to have a temporary lapse of faith and quite another to be permanently stumbled as to the true identity of the Lord Jesus. No single chapter is the story of a man’s life.”

Such is Christ’s understanding of His children. He does not humor us by tolerating our foolish skepticism. However, He does allow for those times when we need to be reminded of who it is we serve. Every believer needs to see a miracle every now and then. And, as we come with our wondering hearts and minds, our Savior is there to prove Himself and bless us for not being offended.

How many times through the New Testament are believers told to “try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1) or to “Prove all things [and then] hold fast that which [we have proven to be] good.” (1Thessalonians 5:21) Christians are actually exhorted to scrutinize their own beliefs and whether or not they truly believe what they are supposed to believe (1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:2).

It may seem like a frivilous point. However, this is a privilege not afforded to the cults and world religions. They are not allowed to question the validity of their authorities, even if only to increase their trust in them. What little information they are given is simply false.

Recently, the son of a Hamas leader, Mosab Hassan Yousef, renounced his Muslim faith, left his family in Ramallah, and is now seeking asylum in the U.S. He gave an amazingly candid interview in which he said:

“There are two facts that Muslims don’t understand … I’d say about more than 95 percent of Muslims don’t understand their own religion…. They rely only on religious people to get their knowledge about this religion.

“Second, they don’t understand anything about other religions. Christian communities live between Muslims and they’re minority and they (would) rather not to go speak out and tell people about Jesus because it’s dangerous for them.

“So, all their ideas about other religions on earth are from Islamic perspectives. So those two realities, most people don’t understand.

“If people, if Muslims, start to understand their religion — first of all, their religion — and see how awful stuff is in there, they’ll start to figure out, this can’t (be) … because most religious people focus on certain points of Islam. They have many points that they are very embarrassed to talk about.”

We as Christian should thank our Father for welcoming questions! Our Lord wants us to understand we do not have to look any farther. As He answered John the Baptist, so he answers our concerns, our doubts, and our lacking faith. The hymn states it well:

“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!”

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2 comments so far

  1. carlgobelman on

    This is a great post! I especially like the quote from William MacDonald (“no single chapter is the story of a man’s life”). I’ve often used a similar concept when talking to people who are quick to judge and used the life of David as an example. If all we knew about David was from 2 Samuel 11, we would conclude that David was a heinous sinner. However, that was a season (a prolonged season) of his life.

    Great read and a great point!

    Carl

    p.s. I’d like to add you to my blogroll, with your permission of course!

  2. DT on

    permission granted! thanks for the kind reply
    God bless


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