When Faith Falters

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.”
John 1:35-37 (NIV)

“John’s disciples told him about all these things.
Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask,
‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ 
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?’
…’I tell you, among those born of women
there is no one greater than John…’”
Luke 7:18-20;28 (NIV)

John the Baptist was among the great men in the history of the covenant community. Indeed, Jesus said no one before him was greater than he was. John was Yahweh’s messenger to prepare the way for the coming Messiah (Malachi 3:1). He preached repentance for sin and baptized converts to picture their death to their old way of life and resurrection to a new way of life. Crowds thronged to hear this powerful preacher. Even Herod Antipas, the Roman ruler over Galilee, liked to hear John preach (Mark 6:20). But John boldly publicly preached that Herod was in an adulterous relationship (Mark 6:18) which incensed Herodias his “wife” and she persuaded Herod to put John into prison.

The prison John was in was not a five star hotel nor even like the prisons in many modern countries. The smells and noises of the prisoners could be heard throughout the structure. It was a furnace in summer and cold in winter. John lived a simple life in the wilderness but enjoyed the scenes, the creative power of God and went and came as the Spirit moved him. Now his only blessing it seems was to be visited occasionally by some of his disciples.

Under such duress John’s faith faltered. He had preached that his younger cousin Jesus would purge the nation (Luke 3:17). However, all reports showed that Jesus had immense popularity and only after John’s death would the Teacher purge as recorded in Matthew 23. John’s faith in his own preaching and mission faltered. Had he been wrong? Was there some great mistake made by him? When he baptized the One he thought was the promised Messiah, he felt sure he had seen the Holy Spirit descend on Him and was certain he heard a voice from heaven saying that this was His beloved Son Who pleased Him.

In light of such overwhelming evidence John’s faith did indeed waiver. Can you put yourself in John’s place today? Have circumstances brought you to the dry place spiritually? Does Satan chide you for thinking you have a loving heavenly Father? Are you unable to see the promises of Scripture fulfilled in your life?

Do what Jesus did for John which was to have the messengers witness some of His miracles. Then He told them to take a report back to John of what they saw. John’s extensive knowledge of Messianic prophecies would confirm they were fulfilled in Jesus.

When our faith falters we need to pour over the Gospels, read all we can about Jesus’ miracles, ponder His sermons, and call out to Him for reassurance that He is indeed the promised One. Then seek from Him grace equal to your need. Take a promise and call for its fulfilment. For example, take Deut. 33:25 and call on the Lord to make your strength equal to your daily issues. Plead the following promise. Psalm 91:15

“He will call on me, and I will answer him; 
I will be with him in trouble, 
I will deliver him and honor him.”

Remember the cry of the father of the possessed son when he responded to Jesus

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed,
‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”
Mark 9:24 (NIV).

If necessary, pray the desperate father’s prayer.

So come and come now to the Expected One, the Messiah, the Friend of sinners, the meek and lowly One, Who promises never to turn away any who come to Him.

Come to the Savior, all,
whate’er your burdens be;
hear now His loving call,
“Cast all your care on me.”
Come, and for every grief,
in Jesus you will find
a sure and safe relief,
a loving friend and kind.

– J. M. Wigner

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