Shepherd God, my name and my needs are known to you. With that assurance, I confidently surrender this day to you.
Read Matthew 11:1–6
Jesus and John the Baptist
11 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.[a]
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… we live by faith, not by sight,’ Paul writes.1 Recall any times your faith has been put to the test and how you responded.
Today’s reading contains a shock. John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin who had declared Jesus ‘the Lamb of God’2 and prepared the way for his coming, had questions about Jesus’ messiahship.
Clearly Jesus was not doing the things John expected of a Messiah. Perhaps he objected to his socializing with tax collectors and sinners or was surprised that Jesus did not fast regularly as John himself did.3 Maybe John had been expecting Jesus to come with a message of judgment and to right the wrongs of the world and so had been surprised that he spoke more of grace and forgiveness than punishment. Then there was John’s own situation: he was languishing in a terrible prison. How had this affected his thinking? He may have expected Jesus to establish his kingdom quickly and for John himself to be raised up and vindicated. Instead, his life was hanging in the balance.
John had failed to see the whole picture. Jesus was, indeed, acting as a Messiah should. He was healing and setting people free just as was foretold in Isaiah 61:1 and 2, a passage of Scripture John appears to have overlooked. Jesus reminded John that God was bigger than his expectations and bigger than his circumstances too. We can put God in a box: expecting him to act in a particular way and then be shaken in our faith when that does not happen. This story encourages us that we are not the only ones to struggle with doubt – even someone as significant as John the Baptist did. However, it also reminds us to keep on trusting. Even when we do not understand what the Lord is doing and things are not going as we think they should, God has a plan and is working his purposes out.
Talk honestly with God about anything in your life with which you are struggling to trust him. Bring to mind examples of his past faithfulness and reflect on those.
Lord Jesus, you truly are the way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness. You are worthy of my love and devotion.
1 2 Cor 5:7 2 John 1:29 3 RT France, Matthew, IVP, 1985, p192
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