Matthew 11:2-3 “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
At some point in our lives, we all have doubts.
We doubt the salesperson who seems convinced we need their product. We doubt our government who tells us to trust they have our best interest in mind. We doubt the teacher who tries to convince us of things contrary to what we believe. We are suspect of those closest to us when the relationship strained, or trust betrayed.
The Christian’s enemy, Satan, is the master at casting doubt. He has had much practice. It all began in the garden.
The serpent sets up his deception by casting doubt on what God had said.
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
He substitutes truth with a lie and casts doubt on God’s sovereignty, divinity, will, and purpose.
Genesis 3:4-5 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Death surely took place the moment they bit into that fruit. Not the heart-stopping, blood-not-pumping death as we might think. The death God spoke of was the total separation from God.
John the Baptist was taken and imprisoned. In that prison cell, he began to wonder if Jesus was the One he preached about, the One for which he was going to die. He sent the two messengers for assurance.
Was this the coming King, who will deliver us from Roman tyranny? Or, is He the Messiah, the Anointed One, Emmanuel?
John was bold in his declaration of Jesus’ coming. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he foretold all that was to come. When Jesus came on the scene, John was the one to exclaim:
John 1:29-30 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.”
Then, when Jesus came to be baptized, all present witnessed a miraculous event.
Matthew 3:16-17 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
For us to look back and wonder why John would doubt or want assurance, we see even those who traveled with Jesus for His entire ministry doubted as well. Jesus gave words that assured John.
Matthew 11:4-6 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 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. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
Even Mary, whose faith seemed settled long before the others, doubted when she came to the tomb.
John 20:12-13 “And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”
When doubt arises in our hearts, where do we go? What do we trust? How can we be sure?
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.“
1 Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ“
Our assurance comes from the faith we place in the God who keeps the promises He makes.
The answer that Jesus gave to John the Baptist was filled with prophecies fulfilled.
The blind receive their sight – Psalm 146:8 “The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: “
The deaf hear, the lame walk, and the dumb speak – Isaiah 35:5-6 “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”
Just as Jesus gave John the reassurance he needed during his time of doubt, our Heavenly Father will draw near to us when we come to Him with our questions, fears, worry, and doubt.
We receive confirmation of these things when we gather and hear others testify of how God met a need, healed a wound, and brought us through a storm. In this time of isolation from one another, we must not let doubt creep in unattended.
In faith, we must counter our doubts with the truth of the Word of God.
If we are weak in our knowledge of the Bible, we will not have the resources to combat the doubts that will come.
Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
If we are weak in our faith, we will be subject to question God when tempted as Eve was in the garden.
Romans 15:1 “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
If we see a brother or sister struggling, we who are strong need to reach out to help.
Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
Doubt is a tool Satan has wielded for centuries. We have the greatest weapon, the Word of God, to dispel all doubts and fears. May we be its students to show ourselves worthy.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”