The Tender Hearted Cousin

“When John, who was in prison,
heard about the deeds of the Messiah,
he sent his disciples to ask him,
‘Are you the one who is to come,
or should we expect someone else?’”
Matthew 11:2-3 (NIV)

We know almost nothing about our Lord’s formative years growing up. Only Luke draws back the curtain of time for a glimpse into 2-3 days of Jesus’ life as a lad of 12 years old (Luke 2:41-50). Luke 2:40 (NIV) also tells us that Jesus —

“… grew and became strong;
he was filled with wisdom,
and the grace of God was on him.”

During his growing years Jesus likely spent time with his cousin John the Baptist. Knowing their godly mindset they undoubtedly spoke to each other about the calling of God they had in life. As adults John gave remarkable and public testimony to the identity of his younger cousin and our Lord spoke eloquently about the Baptist.

In Matthew 11:7-11 (NIV) we read,

“As John’s disciples were leaving,
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? If not, what did you go out to see?
A man dressed in fine clothes?
No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.
Then what did you go out to see? A prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly I tell you, among those born of women
there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist;”

When John was in prison, not to come out alive, his faith in his cousin as the promised Messiah wavered under the brutal conditions of the prison. So, he sent some of his disciples to Jesus with the forlorn question, “Are you the promised One or do we look for another?” When free, John was of strong faith in Jesus, but physical and mental privation played havoc with his faith. However, his younger cousin Jesus sent back a gentle message of assurance and encouragement that displays our Lord’s tender heart.

Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever He deals ever so gently with us when we struggle under temptations that try our faith in Him. We can be assured of Jesus’ abiding love regardless of the seasons in life when we have doubts. He is ever faithful so come to Him like John did so long ago. Confess your doubts and ask for help with your unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Come and come now.

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