“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?”‘ ”
Luke 7:20 (NIV)
The question in our verse is one of the saddest in all of Scripture. The man behind the question was regarded by Jesus as the greatest prophet in the history of God’s people. Yet the man’s heart was broken and his dreams shattered. He was now at the place where he wondered if his work had been all for nothing.
He was an only child raised by elderly and godly parents who taught him the Scriptures faithfully. His name is an abbreviation of Jehohanan which means “Jehovah’s gift”.
As soon as he became an adult he went off into the wilderness for some years to be alone with the Lord, pray, and live off the meagre diet of locusts and honey that the desert afforded (Matthew 3:4). He rightly came to believe he was the man prophesied in Malachi 3:1-5 and his ministry was to fulfil Isaiah 40:1-11.
When Jesus presented Himself to John to be baptized—at the beginning of His public ministry—John hesitated as he felt he needed to be baptized by this One Who was the Messiah of prophecy. When Jesus was in the early part of His ministry, John boldly said of Him,
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-30).
John also predicted that Jesus would come as a refiner’s fire to purge the nation of evil (Matthew 3:1-12). It was a tremendous and exciting time as John realized that the Old Testament prophecies were coming to pass in the generation in which he lived.
But John’s adherence to the truth and his clear call for the nation to repent scorched the ears of King Herod Antipas and his evil wife. Soon John was imprisoned and he lost the confidence he once had about Jesus and wondered if all he had said about him was wrong. The doubts so plagued his mind that he sent his disciples to question Jesus.
How many of God’s people through the ages—who have suffered greatly like John—have had seasons of doubt as questions fill their minds and the cloud of doubt comes between them and the joy they once had?
Very tenderly Jesus acts and speaks to the disciples to encourage John and assure him that his life and work was precious in God’s sight and that he did not suffer for nothing (Luke 7:18-35). Jesus demonstrated to the disciples by His miracles that He was indeed the Messiah of prophecy. John should doubt no more.
Perhaps today you have doubts like John. See what Jesus did for John and focus on the wonderful works and words of Jesus. As you take your eyes off your situation and look at the Saviour you will find the cloud lift and the confidence in Jesus will return.