“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
If you are like John the Baptist there has come a time in your life when this question has crossed your mind? All of us have doubts. “I doubt I will get picked to play this part.” I doubt I will win the raffle.” I doubt she will go out with me on a date.” Doubt by definition is a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. When we doubt, we begin to call into question whether it is the truth or not. All of us at one time or another doubt our salvation. Because of some sin we committed or an addiction that we are trying to overcome and can’t seem to beat it, this brings doubt to our minds. Many mighty men in the Bible have had times of doubt. Thomas (John 20:24-29). Job (Job 23:3-9). And John the Baptist in (Matt 11:1-6)
When everything is going well for us, we don’t seem to have a problem with doubt, but when we are in darkness and things are happening to us that we don’t understand, we begin to question God’s goodness and His care for us and begin to doubt that He even exists. This is what happened to John the Baptist. Let’s go back to the beginning and look at what had happened to lead up to this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
John the Baptist is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3, The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.” (NKJV) This is what he declared about himself to those who were asking who he was. (John 1:22-23) So, John was sent by God to prepare people for the coming Messiah. He was a witness to Jesus as the Messiah and to warn people to repent for the Kingdom of God has come. In John 1:29 John said, “Behold, (or look!) the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John had told everyone to look at this man. This is the promised Messiah from old. He is the one who will take away the sin of the world. How did John know this? Well John answers this question in (John 1:32-33), And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “’Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ God had given John a vision from heaven to know who this man Jesus was. And then John declared, “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:34 NKJV).
Now we arrive at our text, Matthew 11:1-6. From John 1 to Matthew 6, John had been put in prison by Herod for calling out Herod’s wickedness and sin. Herod had taken his brother Phillip’s wife as his own, and John the Baptist tells him to his face that what he has done is wrong and he needs to repent and stop it. Well, this didn’t set well with Herod and his brothers wife Herodias. (Mark 6:18-19) Herod captured John and had put him in prison. Soon, John the Baptist would have his head removed by Herodias’s daughter asking for his head on a platter. (Mark 6:28). In the meantime, John is in prison and he is hearing about Jesus and the works that He was doing. So, John while in prison send two of his disciples to Jesus and has them ask this question. “Are you the Coming one, or do we look for another?” Now I want us to think about this for a minute. John had just got done telling us that he saw Jesus and told everyone that this is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus, and then told everyone that Jesus is the Son of God. Now he is sending his disciples to ask Jesus if He truly is the Messiah. Why this question? Because John is in prison and things are not looking good for him right now. It’s as if John is saying, “Jesus, ah, do you know where I am at? Do you know what they are planning to do with me? I thought you were the Messiah? I thought you would have come by now and rescued me from this evil man Herod? When are you coming? If you are the Messiah, you will rescue me, right? Can you see where John is coming from? All of us at one time or another have thought just like John. Jesus, if you are my Savior, why do I have cancer? Jesus, if you are my provider, why am I broke? It’s as if we think that because Jesus is our Savior then that means we will be free from a life of difficulties or we will never go through any difficult trials. Listen to Jesus’ response to John and to our questions. “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind sees and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me.” (Matt 6:4-6). This word ‘offended’ means, “to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to obey.”
Jesus is telling John and telling us that He was sent to do the works that His Father had sent Him to do. Open blind eyes, heal the lame, give people who are dead new life (Spiritual) and proclaim the gospel to everyone. I see Jesus telling John’s disciples to go and tell John, “yes, I am the Messiah and these works that I am doing testify to it. John, I know you are in prison and you are wondering when I am coming to rescue you. I’m not John. This is not what I have been sent to do. You have done your part and you have done it well. You are in prison and you are about to have your head cut off, but don’t fear John. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33). I am not going to rescue you from this light momentary affliction. (2 Cor 4:17) I will rescue you from eternal damnation John. Right now, you are worried, but once that blade takes your head off, you will have no troubles anymore.”
You see, Jesus did not come to sit on the edge of His bed and wait for every time you are in trouble to come to your rescue and deliver you from harm. He came to save sinners from the wrath of His Father. He came to show us who His Father is. He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He is a Savior at heart and desires that no one should perish but have eternal life and I have come to make that a reality. So, the next time you are in a dark place and wonder where Jesus is at or when He is coming to rescue you, and doubt begins to fill your heart that He loves you or even cares for you, remember the words of the author of the book of Hebrews, chapter 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We do not trust in our feelings, but in the Word of God. Our feelings change moment by moment, but the Word of God never changes. It is a sure foundation to stand on whenever you are worried and doubtful.