Lord, thank You for understanding
Read LUKE 7:18–35
Jesus and John the Baptist
18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
a Luke 7:22 The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
b Luke 7:27 Mal. 3:1
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.
“My hosanna has passed through a great furnace of doubts” (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821–1881).
This passage has often troubled Christians, for John seems to doubt whether Jesus is the Messiah, even though he must have seen the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus at his baptism and heard God proclaim him as “my Son” (Matt. 3:13–17; Luke 3:21,22). John has also been informed about the miracles of Christ, yet still he sends his followers to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (20).
So why does John doubt? First, Jesus has not acted the way John has expected. He has assumed that the Messiah would bring judgment, but instead this Jesus speaks of forgiveness and reaches out to sinners. Second, John is imprisoned and knows his life could soon be over. He is under terrible strain. Awful thoughts can torment people in such circumstances. Even someone as great as John can have doubts when he is suffering like this. However, he handles these doubts well: rather than hide them, he brings them to Christ, who answers his question by reminding him of his miraculous deeds. These deeds prove that Jesus is the Messiah, for they show that he is fulﬁlling the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61, which he has claimed as his mission statement at the start of his public ministry (Luke 4:16–21).
Jesus’ attitude to his vacillating cousin is deeply touching. He does not criticize him but publicly reaffirms him in his role as forerunner to Messiah and acknowledges him as a great man. John’s doubts do not cause Jesus to think less of him. He ensures that the crowd knows that, despite John’s momentary wobble of faith, he is not normally a ﬁckle man whose opinions change like “a reed swayed by the wind” (24). What grace Christ shows toward John, even in his wavering! What encouragement this is for us when we doubt and need a little support!
Spend time being honest with God. What are you struggling with? What doubts are playing on your mind? Thank God for his mercy to us in our weaknesses.
Lord, be merciful to Your people when circumstances sometimes cause them to doubt what they otherwise know is true.