The Life of John the Baptist
Have you ever been reading the Bible and said to yourself, “Did I just read that correctly?” Have you doubted your ability to understand God’s Word correctly? Well if you have, you are in good company. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus shares about who he believes to be the greatest of all time when he says, “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11a). However, even the greatest person will sometimes have trouble believing.
Scripture: Luke 7:18-23 (NLT)
"The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’” At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—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.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.”"
John the Baptist was chosen by God to break the more than 400-year silence between God and the Jewish people. His prophetic voice was a light raised up in the time of great darkness. He was so good at what he was doing that many people started to think that John must be the Messiah. When asked about his position John said this, quoting Isaiah 40:3, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Later in Scripture, we see John make one of the most profound statements of strength and humility. Many of John’s disciples had left John and started to follow Jesus. When asked about this, John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” However, as we read above in Luke 7:18-23, John the Baptist had reached a point of confusion with his faith in Jesus. John had been arrested and imprisoned. While in prison, he had heard reports of what Jesus had been doing. On the one hand, Jesus did the works of the Messiah. On the other hand, he had not overturned the Roman government, as the Jews expected the promised Messiah to do. John decided to send two of his disciples to clear up the confusion by asking Jesus, “Are you the one?”
Jesus responds with an assurance that he is the chosen one of God and puts at ease John’s restlessness and confusion.
- Have you ever wondered if Jesus was really whom he claimed to be?
- Where did you go with your confusion and doubts?
- Did you go to Jesus or somewhere else to seek answers?
God, grant me the ability to hear you clearly. In the times where I am confused, remind me to seek answers in you and not anything else of this world. Allow me to have a heart like John the Baptist; one that says “Jesus must increase and that I must decrease.” All glory, honor, and praise goes to you alone, God. In Jesus’ holy name, AMEN!