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Know God in a Year #60 How to Handle Doubt

John the Baptist was first to introduce Jesus to the people as their Messiah. He is also first (outside of Mary and Joseph) to share the honor of His suffering.

Herod respects John as a holy man and likes listening to him, and John is honest with him about taking his brother’s wife. So Herod, at the urging of his vengeful wife, Herodius, puts John in prison.

After his active, outdoor life, the dungeon feels oppressive. And as week after week passes, John’s disciples, allowed to visit him, begin asking questions that make his time even harder. They question why Jesus doesn’t do something, adding to John’s own questions.

John didn’t understand Messiah’s kingdom, either. He knew that he was the “Elijah” of Isaiah’s prophecy, and therefore expected Jesus to overthrow the oppressive power of Rome.

In the long, lonely hours, demons whispered that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, that John’s life work had been for nothing. Had he been unfaithful that he was put aside? Where was this Messiah who would reveal the God that answers by fire?

As time passes, with Jesus doing nothing to free him, doubt and despondency creep in. But wisely, John doesn’t discuss his fears with his followers. He remembers the baptism, the voice from heaven, and the visible Spirit.

So he sends two of his disciples to Jesus with a question, hoping to dismiss doubt and strengthen their faith. Secretly, he hopes, no, longs, that Jesus will send a word directly to him as well.

Luke 7:19-23,  Matthew 11:1-6,  Mark 6:17-20

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