Prepare to listen. Light 2 purple and pink candles and pray: ‘Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.’ (Psalm 124:8)
Prayerfully Read Matthew 11:2-6
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
Before his imprisonment John confidently identified Jesus as the Messiah of God. But in the confinement of prison, doubts crept in and he wasn’t so sure. In his doubt, John did the only thing he could do, sending his disciples to ask Jesus for confirmation. John needed the comfort of certainty, as we all do when in doubt.
Those of us who often experience doubt can take comfort in two things. First, Jesus didn’t rebuke John for his doubts. He understood doubts will come and we can learn to live with them. Second, he didn’t give John a straightforward answer. He neither affirmed nor denied being Messiah. Instead he invited John’s disciples to go back and tell John the stories of all that he was doing. He lists six different things, all of which the prophet Isaiah (Is 35) said Messiah would do. He gave John the challenge of reflecting on the stories, seeing the connection to the prophet Isaiah and then coming to his own conclusion. He sent this assurance to John: ‘blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.’
When I worked in children’s ministry years ago, the material I was required to use contained a story of a child who confessed to God his sin of doubt. I struggled with that story and couldn’t tell it to the children. Doubt isn’t a sin. Jesus’ followers often experience doubts that creep in uninvited and unexpected. Be assured that Jesus won’t rebuke you, nor will he answer your questions. Instead, he’ll encourage you to read the stories of his life and ministry. Name your doubts and commit to reading and reflecting on the stories of Scriptures, trusting the Spirit to work within.
Respond to Jesus
Like John, I too need to ask again for assurance, Lord Jesus. Keep me alert today to your different works in and around me so that I can be confident despite my doubts and questions. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, with or without doubts.