LOOK AT THE FACTS
Jesus, I worship you in awe and with love. Forgive my sins and fill me with your Spirit today.
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.”
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.
‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’1 Today, choose to believe – and to be honest about your questions, doubts, and unbelief.
John the Baptist is confused. He recognized Jesus and prepared the way for him,2 yet he has been thrown into prison3 and will soon be killed. This is not how things are supposed to work out for this great prophet and as a result he is now doubting whether Jesus really is the long-awaited Messiah. This is reassuring to me when I struggle with my own doubts and questions. Jesus acknowledges John’s plight: ‘Blessed is anyone who does not stumble [or ‘is not offended/scandalized’] on account of me’ (v 23). Jesus knows it’s hard to keep believing when life doesn’t make sense and our circumstances go in the opposite direction to all we had hoped and believed.
John asks a sensible question about Jesus’ identity, and Jesus’ response is extremely important. He doesn’t rebuke John for his need for reassurance, but appeals to what has happened, to what his disciples have seen and heard. The proofs he mentions are observable deeds, not theories – they are the very things which the prophets of old predicted that the Messiah would do.4 As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding: the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor hear the good news. These are tangible and reassuring confirmations of Jesus’ identity.
God can handle our doubts and he welcomes our questions. He’s not surprised when our faith wavers, especially when our circumstances do not align with our expectations. I have learned this again during the recent pandemic and found real freedom and healing in being honest with God about my pain. He has also reminded me of the tangible ways he has worked in my life over many years.
If you have questions about who Jesus is or what he expects of you, bring them honestly to God. As you face your doubts and unbelief, God will meet you.
Holy Spirit, continue to build my faith; continue to teach me about who Jesus is and remind me of all he said. When I am weak, when I waver, help me to be faithful.
1 Mark 9:24 2 Luke 3:15–18 3 Luke 3:19,20 4 Eg Isa 35:5,6; 61:1
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