We tend to think of those in the Bible as better than we are, but they were just like us. They had their down times, their times of doubt and troubles. The devil is relentless in attacking our faith. There is so little we can trust in this world. We used to trust our government, our communities, and even our neighbors. That’s gone. We’re living in an un-trustworthy world.
Here John was in prison. He sent two of his disciples to Jesus asking if he was the one or should he look for another. Jesus sent a reply that helped him and will also help us. Go and show John again. He could have cut John off and crossed him off his list. He knows what we go through and he’ll show us again what we need.
Matthew 11: And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
There was no one like John the Baptist. He had a unique role. God promised to send a King who would reign forever. Jesus was the one. He remains the one. Before the Savior appeared a forerunner would prepare the way, a voice crying in the wilderness. That was John. At this point John had baptized Jesus and preached to the people. From all classes of society people came to hear him. Baptism had never happened in history of the Bible. This shows a turning point. Generally the Jews went to the priests and looked to the Law and the prophets. That was until John. He preached people had to repent. After they did they were baptized. God told them he would do a new thing; he was. In faith of the coming Messiah they believed and followed John. Someone spoke to us about Jesus and we followed. We put faith in what Jesus did on the cross. They put their faith in who was to come; we the one who did come. We have assurance we can be truly saved by our faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. He came and finished the plan of salvation. I’m glad to be saved and followed the Lord in baptism. At times we gather around this table in remembrance of what he did. As believers together we have a bond with Jesus our Savior.
John had a part in it. One day he looked up and saw Jesus coming. He was his cousin in the flesh but still the son of God. John said he needed to be baptized of Jesus but Jesus told him to allow it. Our daily task is to do what God called us to do so the world will know it has a Savior. When John witnessed all this he knew his work was done. He decreased so Jesus could increase. He had done his primary mission. His task as forerunner was complete but as a witness he still went on. John preached from city to city. He could now tell them the Messiah had come. He told them to repent and believe on the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. We may feel we’re on the decrease but we must go on.
John made Herod mad and the soldiers came and threw him in prison. After a while he got discouraged. His disciples tried to lift him up but he was left alone in the damp and darkness of the dungeon. I can hear Herod taunting him day after day. We have our high moments but then the devil starts in on us. Health troubles come. Family troubles come. The devil throws the whole bucket at us. John leaped in his mother’s womb when he heard the voice of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He wore rough camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey. We all have a breaking point. Never think you’re invincible. We’re not devil proof. I’ve heard people boast of being a high power Christian and now they are not even in church. Don’t brag on self. Brag on God. John was about to the point of giving up. We can get there quicker than we think. We need the Lord. I’ve been saved 43 years and still need him. I’ll never get to the point of not.
John may have thought like we do. God is doing so much for others; what about me? Some see their troubles and think no one else is having any. Everybody else doesn’t have it better. The devil works on us all. We’re all in the same boat. It was not meant for John to get out of prison. Jesus said among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. Then for our benefit he said notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Jesus knows our weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer. He sends us the message to hold the faith. How many victories have you had? There have been more victories than defeat. Any defeats were not God’s fault. We’ve had more mountains than valleys. How blessed we are! We may be cast down but we’re not forsaken. God is still good even if we are in the dungeon.
Jesus said go show John again. He said tell him the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. There isn’t a sin I’ve asked forgiveness of that he’s said no. God is so good! We may not get around like we used to but we’re still walking. We’ve been blinded and short sited but hold on and you’ll see clearly. We may feel half dead but we’re alive in Jesus. If we lose all our material things and don’t have a dime we still have the most important thing—the gospel.
Verse 6 says and blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. Blessed is he who doesn’t doubt. God takes care of all things, even over John being in the dungeon. We don’t have John’s reply but we can guess. John looked up when he received the message. His eyes lit up. He began to smile. I’m sure he shouted and rose from his despondency. He had more preaching to do. He knew Jesus was his Savior even while he was down in the dungeon. He was lifted and encouraged. He preached loud enough for Herod and Herodias to hear him. When they had him beheaded and his head was brought on a charger to them, I’m sure they found no satisfaction in it.
I’m no John and neither are you, but God is our Savior. Maybe it’s time for another round of seeing what Jesus is doing for us.