October 24, 2019

Our Bouts With Doubt

 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”  Matthew 11:3 (NLT)

If you’ve ever wrestled with doubts, you’re in good company. Not only did the disciple, Thomas, have a bout with doubt, but John the Baptist did as well. Imprisoned for his bold rebuke of King Herod, John knew he was called to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. Unable to preach from jail, he sends his disciples to Jesus with a question that reveals his doubts as to whether Jesus really was the Messiah.

“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”  Matt. 11:3 (NLT) 

John’s example shows us how to handle our doubts.  When you doubt, rather than turning away from Christ, turn to Him.  The reason many of our doubts remain unsettled is because we turn away from Jesus.  We make assumptions based on circumstances beyond our control and begin to wonder if God is even in control.  John must have wondered why he was in prison, why he couldn’t accomplish his calling, and if he may have missed the real Messiah.  He didn’t want to waste any time with what limited time he had remaining. If Jesus was not the Messiah, then he felt compelled to keep looking. 

Without John’s question, we would not have the answer Jesus gave him.  Through Christ’s response to John’s disciples, we not only resolve the Messiah question, but discover how to distinguish fake news from what is true.  How?  Look at Jesus’s response to John’s disciples in verses 4-6.

“Jesus told them, ‘Go back to John and tell him about the miracles you’ve seen Me do— the blind people I’ve healed, and the lame people now walking without help, and the cured lepers, and the deaf who hear, and the dead raised to life; and tell him about My preaching the Good News to the poor. Then give him this message, ’Blessed are those who don’t doubt Me.’”    

Rather than simply making a claim to be the Messiah, Jesus demonstrated who He was with evidence that would settle any doubts. Just a few chapters later, Matthew records that John was beheaded in prison.  There was no record that John ever did a follow up question or shared any further doubt about Jesus before he died.  He didn’t need too. He must have taken comfort that the one he had baptized, the one he had directed his own disciples to follow, was indeed the Messiah who was to come.  His mission was complete!  When you’re dealing with doubt, take your doubts to Jesus.  He’s big enough for our questions and not threatened by them.  Examine the evidence to distinguish what is true from what is false.  Many people make claims that sound good, even spiritual, but Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.”  Matthew 7:20 (KJV)