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In the dark? Look for The Son

 

I once had a roommate that wore the saying; “You doubt me?” out. Christian people so studious and devout in their walk with God never have moments where they doubt right? If you are saying, “Amen,” to that, I’m going to call you a liar. Now now you may not doubt Christ as Savior, but I’m sure that when life gets in the way, even the staunchest believer steps back, wonders why things are the way they are, and looks to God for an answer that may not come as quickly as we desire. 

Let’s think about John The Baptist. Most folks, kids included will say ole John BAPTIZED PEOPLE. That is right, but so many times, we as God’s children forget the details. John and Jesus were cousins. John from conception was different for a number of reasons. First, the name John was unusual for his family’s lineage. Second, God’s Holy Spirit was upon John from day one. God had a plane for John as he does for all of us by the way.

So John says to the ruling religious know-it-alls when asked about the Messiah, “No, I’m not Him, and I’m not worthy by the way to tie his sandals.” That’s a paraphrase, by the way. So, John knew that the Messiah was coming. He recognized Christ as it and even baptized our Lord. So where’s the doubt? Here it comes. See, ole John got in trouble with the king and he was thrown in jail. While he was in jail, since he didn’t have radio or cable, he had time to think about it all. See, John, filled with the Holy Spirit still sinned by doubting Christ. It is possible though that John did not doubt, but used that to strengthen his own faith.

Let’s look at Matthew Chapter eleven:

 1 Jesus finished teaching his 12 disciples. Then he went on to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

 2 John was in prison. When he heard what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to him. 3 They asked Jesus, "Are you the one who was supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?"

 4 Jesus replied, "Go back to John. Report to him what you hear and see. 5 Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk. Those who have skin diseases are healed. Deaf people hear. Those who are dead are raised to life. And the good news is preached to those who are poor. 6 Blessed are those who do not give up their faith because of me."

 7 As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He said, "What did you go out into the desert to see? Tall grass waving in the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. People who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one written about in Scripture. It says,
   
" 'I will send my messenger ahead of you.
      He will prepare your way for you.' —(Malachi 3:1)

 11 "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born. But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is.

Historically speaking, John was in jail I believe around the time Jesus began His ministry. That being said, John did not get firsthand accounts of the miracles and healings. Obviously he had heard and sent his disciples to Christ. Verse two demonstrates this: 2 John was in prison. When he heard what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to him. 3 They asked Jesus, "Are you the one who was supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?"

They just come right out and ask. Now, Jesus being God, answered correctly, but you and I in our failed flesh, probably would have answered indignantly.  But see, Jesus used John’s doubt for a teachable moment to spread the Gospel and maybe take a quick jab at the king Herod and his palace.

Jesus replied n verse four and following: "Go back to John. Report to him what you hear and see. 5 Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk. Those who have skin diseases are healed. Deaf people hear. Those who are dead are raised to life. And the good news is preached to those who are poor. 6 Blessed are those who do not give up their faith because of me."

At first glance, it sounds like Jesus is patting Himself on the back in an arrogant fashion, but that is not the case at all. This is one time where from my view, Christ does not answer plainly about His identity. When Peter called to the approaching Christ, Jesus answered, “It is I.” He simply tells the messengers to report what they hear and see, not what I or others say. He then lists what they will see.  Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk. Those who have skin diseases are healed. Deaf people hear. Those who are dead are raised to life. And the good news is preached to those who are poor. Whether it be a physical, mental, or spiritual healing, Christ took care of everything. The Good News that we know as the Gospel of Christ’s love, sacrifice, death, and resurrection was given to the poor. Right away the skeptic will say, “So, Christ didn’t preach to the man with money!?!” Christ preached openly to all people. My thoughts on the meaning of poor meant poor as in lack of financial viability due to the way of life. Today it means the same thing as well as being poor spiritually.

Blessed are those who do not give up their faith because of me."

            This verse as I have listed in the NIV may cause some to misunderstand and feel confused.  In the King James, as translated from Hebrew, the verse goes 6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

            Looking at the verses one can see what the issue surrounding confusion is. All throughout both Testaments, God the father and Christ the Son warn against those people, all people that turn from them due to shame and arrogance. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. Jesus has made His case clearer than crystal when He said regarding salvation, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

If we are a people that are offended by Christ, we are not a part of Christ, and we have not a place reserved for us by Christ. We cannot call ourselves Children of God, Christians, when we denounce Christ, His virgin birth, His sacrifice, His love, His death, His resurrection and His very blood by living a life that does not represent His existence in our lives and or doubting He is Who The Bible, God’s Holy Word, says He is!

Verses seven and eight show Christ practicing what He preached. He says many kind things to those around Him that may have questioned John’s character or his own faith since his disciples asked Christ for validation of His identity. 

As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He asked, "What did you go out into the desert to see? Tall grass waving in the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. People who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces.”

            Christ asks rhetorically to the people what they expected to see when they went to John, the messenger sent to prepare the way for Christ. Jesus here, in my uneducated opinion takes a small shot at the ruling class by mentioning that those who wore fine clothing were in the king’s palace. Take it for what it is worth.

“Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one written about in Scripture. It says,
   
" 'I will send my messenger ahead of you.
      He will prepare your way for you.' —(Malachi 3:1)

 11 "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born. But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is.”

            Talk about the greatest pat on the back ever! By referencing Old Testament scripture to the Jewish audience, Christ not only validates that He is the Messiah but also John’s stature. Christ then makes a statement that no one greater-including Himself has ever been born. That’s like Michael Jordan giving the game winning shot to Paxon. The educated skeptic will say that The Bible says there is no favoritism with God. But then Jesus tells how important the rest of us all.  But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is.”

            John’s doubt or his needing validation allowed our Lord to further His ministry. The point to all this is that even the most devout Christians at times have doubts. What strengthens our faith from our doubts is the basic belief that caused us to believe in the first place. Jesus Himself asked God for the cup to be taken from Him if possible. We must continue to grow in faith daily, taking up the cross as Christ instructed. If doubts are on the rise in your mind, let your heart open up to Jesus and the Truth.

God bless.