It’s an insight that resonates with the experience of John the Baptist, who found himself in a situation in which the challenges he faced threatened to steal his faith and hope.
Chained in a dingy cell, John, exhausted and disheartened, sent messengers to Jesus to pose a vital question: “Are you the Messiah . . . or should we keep looking?” (Matthew 11:3). After proclaiming Jesus as the One sent from God, things had not gone as John had expected.
I imagine a flood of dark thoughts overwhelming John. I thought you were the one, Jesus. Why aren’t you doing what the Messiah is supposed to do? Why are we sitting here waiting again? Did I believe a lie?
Does it encourage you to know that someone so faithful, who knew the Scriptures and had such bold faith, who had even baptized Jesus, still had such fundamental doubts?
Jesus didn’t unleash a theological lecture or scold the messengers for their questions. Instead, He told them to tell John what they’d seen: ”The blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:4-5). Jesus told them to tell John they’d seen Him doing the very things the prophet Isaiah had promised God would do when He arrived (Isaiah 35:1-6, 61:1-7).
So, no, John hadn’t believed a lie; God had indeed arrived.
Like John, we experience much waiting and much confusion. But we keep watching; we move into and through our uncertainty. We keep bringing our doubts and our hopes to Jesus—the One who will not fail us.