Doubting John ∙
When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law – Galatians 4:4
3 Strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.
4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.
Most of us have seen seasonal cycles of growth. In the Fall, vegetation goes into a dormant stage and prepares for the cold weather of Winter. In the Spring, warmth, longer hours of sunlight, and rain bring forth new life. Sometimes “seasons” can be irregular. Buried beneath the sand of the Mojave Desert, are untold numbers of wildflower seeds. Under the right conditions, and at the right time, an abundance of stunning wildflowers burst forth and cover the ground with vibrant, beautiful colors.
The dry desert must be soaked by abundant rain and warmed by the sun, at just the right time. Otherwise, the desert is just a desert.
So it is with us. Often our lives are parched and dry seemingly without end. During such difficult times, many of us have grave doubts regarding the love and involvement of our heavenly Father in our lives. When we get pushed against the wall, our doubts become so great, we might even doubt the truth of our faith.
But we forget that the Father created both the seasons and the unseen seeds of life. He also controls the timing of the events of our lives. At the fullness of time, we bloom.
The Father created time and put humanity in it to experience sequence and change. For the Father, everything is always now, and He sees the end from the beginning.
REFLECT & PRAY
As I review my life, I see both parched times and times growth and beauty. I also realize that I control neither.
Father, I acknowledge that you are in control and sovereign. You have appointed time for everything under heaven. Encourage me to stand firm in times of drought and doubt.
Sometimes we do not understand what’s going on. It simply makes no sense to us. The unseen hand of a loving Father has been at work all the time. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the right place at the right time. What happens next is truly incredible.
The Father has provided us with the Word of God to provide truth and encouragement during difficult, parched times. The Father provides promises. There is a time coming when the Father will make all things right. The Old Testament predicted the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at exactly the right time of the Father’s choosing. The fullness of time. Several specific miracles were prophesied.
When He came, the blind would see, the lame would walk, the lepers would be cured, the deaf would hear, the dead would be raised to life, and the Good News would be preached to the poor (Isaiah 35:4-6).
These are the specific miracles that the Lord Jesus performed during His life on earth. They presented evidence that validated His messianic identity.
John the Baptist was unique. He was one-off from the rest of humanity. A question many people ask is “Who is the greatest man who ever lived?” The Lord Jesus Christ provided the answer.
26 Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet.
27 John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.”
28 I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!
John had grown mighty in his spirit (Luke 1:80). He was empowered by the Father to accomplish his assigned mission as the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was successful and large crowds heard the truth and were baptized. The word went out to the leadership of Jerusalem. They sent representatives to question him (John 1:19-25).
Despite it all, even he began to have doubts. For a short time, he became Doubting John. Was the Lord Jesus Christ truly the Messiah? As hard as it is to imagine that one so full of the spirit and anointed by the Father would question the core message that he had preached regarding the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had declared Him to be the Lamb of God (John 1:29).
Imagine what it was like for John in prison? The world that he had known had come to an end. “He was a man of the desert, yet he was confined indoors. He was an active man, with a divine mandate to preach; yet he was silenced. He had announced judgment, and yet that judgment was slow in coming (Matthew 3:7-12)” (Wiersbe). He was downcast and discouraged. Mistreatment, imprisonment, and the threat of looming death took their toll. He was shaken to the depth of his being.
John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord Jesus Christ an almost unthinkable question.
Luke 7:19 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
The answer was swift and precise. The promises of the Father regarding the Lord Jesus Christ had been and were being fulfilled.
Luke 7:22 “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard – the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”
The Lord Jesus Christ gently and graciously answered John. The logic is simple. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would perform specific miracles. The Lord Jesus Christ was performing those miracles. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ was the Messiah of Israel, the coming one of whom John himself spoke.
Any of us can have doubts. Rather than believing our doubts and doubting our beliefs, we are to affirm our beliefs and reject our doubts.
15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
We can trust the Father through life’s seasons of drought and drenching storms. There is a time when parched souls bloom! The fullness of time.