Read (from the New Living Translation)
18The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19 and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting,[b] or should we keep looking for someone else?”
(read the whole story – Luke 7:18-35)
The death of a child. The suffering of the innocent. Roadblock after roadblock when you have been faithful. The argument of a nonbeliever that honestly makes more sense to you than what you have heard in church.
There are all kinds of reasons why we doubt. Some loom large, some nag at us – a low grade buzzing in the back of our minds that won’t ever quite go away.
Have you ever secretly wondered, maybe even hoped that the super spiritual person you know would just once show that they are human? That they suffer questions and doubts like the rest of us?
Doubt affects us all. John the Baptist was in fact, the greatest and most spiritual man who got to baptize Jesus (7:28). He doubted. Think about that.
John was in prison (Mt. 11:2) and he began to doubt. “Is this man whom I baptized really the Messiah? Has God really provided a deliverer because it surely doesn’t seem that way.”
Even the greatest of faith faces doubt.
Doubt does not make faith unreal or a sham.
Jesus does not condemn John’s question. He points to the truth. John and his disciples have seen the blind see, the lame walk, leprosy gone, deaf people hear, the dead raised to life. the good news preached to the poor.
Jesus tells John that He is indeed the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of God’s Messiah. No condemnation. No scolding. A simple pointer. After John’s disciples return an tell him of Jesus’ message, Jesus also tells the crowds of John’s greatness. The doubting one is the greatest.
Doubt is not the end of the story as long as we don’t stay there. Jesus didn’t meet the expectations for the Messiah in the first century. Faith in Christ doesn’t always make sense to us today. But when we take a step back, pause, and take stock of what is going on around us, the truth of our faith comes to light.
Notes from the Illustrated Study Bible
Jesus praised John as the greatest person who ever lived under the old covenant. But even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than John. The blessings of the new covenant – free and complete forgiveness of sins, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and intimate knowledge of God – give believers in Jesus a new and even greater position than John enjoyed.
For more readings like this one on faith, hope, and prayer – join the World’s Biggest Small Group!