Read: Matthew 11
Doubt is one of the most prevalent hardships for Christians. If we get honest, so many of us deal with doubts and questions but we will never express them. Instead of letting them drive us to the feet of Jesus we often let them pull us away. This was not God’s plan.
I cannot begin to write a comprehensive understanding of doubt, its importance, its hardship, or how to perfectly respond to it BUT here in this text we have an example of how to run to Jesus in our doubt. Here we see John wrestle with doubt… with real questions.
That’s right, John the Baptist, the man who BAPTIZED Jesus, SAW the Holy Spirit descend like a dove, and HEARD the voice of Father God speaking about Jesus… the man who experienced Jesus like none other in his life… doubted Jesus during a trial in his life. That is what trials often do… they show us where our trust is, but also shows cracks in our trust. John shows us how to pursue Jesus in the midst of our doubts.
1) JOHN’S QUESTION (V.2-3)
First, we see the question that John had in his heart. While he was in prison, about to die, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (v.3) In other words John is asking Jesus if He truly is the Messiah.
We may think this sounds crazy… John experienced Jesus in a way no one else ever had… How could he doubt Him? I am not sure, but he did. Through John we learn something very valuable. It is not IF we have questions but WHEN we have questions. It does not make us WEAK if we have questions but the right response will make us STRONG. So, how did John respond?
2) JOHN WENT TO THE SOURCE (V.2-3)
John did not sit on his questions… He did not try to just make it make sense in his own mind… He went straight to the source of Truth. He went to Jesus. Truth does not come from INSIDE of us, Truth comes from OUTSIDE of us. John understood this. This has gotten harder to understand in our relativistic world.
How do we go to Jesus?
….. Honest Prayer – Jesus can handle your questions.
….. Heartfelt Worship – Connect your heart to His.
….. Hungrily Search for Truth – Spend time in God’s Word and Search.
….. Honor Him By Trusting Him – Trust what you find // see // He reveals in Scripture.
….. Healing By Talking With Others – Others are going through the same thing. Pursue Jesus together. Pray for each other.
3) JESUS’ RESPONSE (V.4-6)
Those of us who are struggling with doubt (as I did for a period in my life) feel guilt, shame, like we are less than, like God is looking down on us or that somehow Jesus is frustrated with us. BUT when we see the way He responded to John we know that is not true.
Jesus had every reason to be frustrated with John. He allowed him to experience Him like none other. But Jesus was not frustrated. He told them to tell John what they see… that “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (v.4-5) There was GOOD REASON to believe in Jesus… and there still is.
Here we learn that Jesus can handle our questions. He does not cease to be God. He is not worried. He is still on His throne even when we have questions. He is asking us to do the same thing: look at the world, look at Scripture, look at what God has done and is doing… Make the choice to trust Him regardless of what you feel. Truth is not what we FEEL… Truth is what is true REGARDLESS of what we feel. Jesus can handle our questions.
4) JOHN’S ACCEPTANCE
It seems that John accepted what Jesus said because there was no rebuttal. Too often we try to ARGUE with God instead of ACCEPT what He says. We do this the most when we put ourselves in the position of God. When we grasp that God is God and we are not… that truth depends on HIM not on US… we will accept what He says much easier.
5) JESUS’ AFFIRMATION OF JOHN (V.7-15)
Our doubt does not define our worth, value, identity, or if God is pleased with us. We can never earn more or less of His love. Even in his questions, John was declared by Jesus to be a great follower of God (v.11).
Make the choice to let questions drive us to the FEET of Jesus not pull us AWAY from Jesus. Life is full of questions and not all of them have answers (on this side of heaven). The question is will we trust Him regardless of feelings & answers. We must remember that answers don’t solve questions of God… Trust does. Answers are not our God. God is our God.
Knowledge does not = Faith
Faith = Faith
How did God speak to your heart today? Have you ever struggled with doubts and questions of God? How did you handle them?
By: Nick Parsons
Very encouraging word today Nick. Thank you!
v.11a) I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist
This is an amazing statement from Jesus. So John, even with his doubts, was the greatest man who ever lived. We should all be encouraged by this. When, not if, we have doubts we are to take them directly to the Lord just as JTB did. So often we desire to consult a friend or family member when we should always go directly to our creator who loves us beyond measure.
Thanks Nick. Very insightful and helpful
Wow! Great message! John the Baptist went to the source: Jesus!