Faith Dilemma

Background Story: John the Baptist was born in a miraculous way and spent his life declaring to everyone around him about the coming of the Messiah. Now he finds himself in prison and he is overcome by doubt.

Read: Matthew 11: 1-11

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

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?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

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. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Big Idea: God is not intimidated by our doubt.

John the Baptist is the same man who baptized Jesus earlier. In Matthew 3:16-17, it says, “At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Now we find John sitting in prison and asking Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (v 3) You would think that seeing heaven open and hearing the audible voice of God would have been enough concrete proof to John the Baptist that Jesus is the Messiah. Maybe it was his present circumstance that shook his faith, but he now finds himself in prison having a faith dilemma.

What I love in these verses is Jesus’ response to John’s doubt. Does Jesus criticize him or turn His back on him because of his doubt? No. Jesus says, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see.” (v 4) And then He affirms John saying, “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”

You might have grown up in the church or recently discovered faith in Christ, but at some point, you will hit a circumstance that shakes you to the core and might cause you to question your beliefs. It is ok to doubt and it is ok to do your research. Many of the most famous Christians of today went through their times of doubt. Don’t believe me…check out this video: Billy Graham & The Bible: A Crisis of Faith.

Listen to this amazing video of Lee Strobel who spent two years trying to prove Jesus was not the Messiah. His story and Billy Graham’s are powerful examples of how doubt can actually cause us to research which can produce a stronger, more unshakable faith in the end.

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