John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Luke 7:18-19 ESV
All giants of the faith doubt.
Jesus described John the Baptist as the greatest ever born (Matthew 11:11). If the greatest can doubt, it’s not unreasonable for you or me to have doubt or go through a season of doubt.
John the Baptist wasn’t bothered by wearing camel hair clothing or eating locusts, he didn’t mind spending his time in the wilderness, and he had the courage to speak prophetically.
I don’t think he was surprised that after criticizing Antipas he was put in prison.
While in prison, he couldn’t work – his ministry was gone. His life purpose, a ministry prophesied about in the Old Testament, was over.
He sat in the stinking gloom of prison and thought, “I’m the forerunner of Jesus, a prophet called to prepare the way for the Messiah. Did my big mouth get me in trouble before I fulfilled my ministry? If Jesus isn’t the Messiah and I’m not getting out of this place, did I ruin my life by getting myself in trouble?”
He called for a few of his friends and said, “Go ask Jesus if He is the Messiah.”
A moment of doubt from the greatest man who ever lived. John baptized Jesus and witnessed the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove fall upon Jesus. The greatest man, witnessing one of the greatest signs ever – yet he had doubt.
You shouldn’t feel bad about your moment of doubt. Don’t condemn yourself as doubt remains a stubborn side-effect of sin.
In my 49 years of ministry, I haven’t met one person who didn’t have a moment of doubt so severe that thoughts of quitting weren’t just below the surface. After reading about 100 biographies of both saints and sinners – all of them came to a place of paralyzing doubt.
I have doubt.
My life calling is Jesus’ command to disciple, while many Christians don’t disciple or even care to become a discipler.
Jesus promised to answer my prayers, and so I pray for the sick who aren’t healed.
I could go on and on as my introspective self constantly doubts. Doubt is an even more stubborn side-effect for those like me who live a life of thought and contemplation.
John the Baptist did the right thing – He asked Jesus about his doubts.
You can do this too. Ask Jesus. John the Baptist wasn’t afraid to ask his friends for help as he requested that they go to see if Jesus was really Jesus.
Jesus responded with grace and mercy. When the Pharisees asked for a sign, he rebuked them. When John the Baptist questioned Jesus’ identity, Jesus performed miracles.
Jesus had John’s disciples sit down to rest themselves while he healed the sick and cast out demons. He told them:
Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me. Luke 7:22-23
John’s disciples ran back and told him, “We just had a day of watching Jesus preach the good news and confirm it with miracles. You remember old and crotchety Baruck? He couldn’t hear well and always yelled at people to speak louder. Jesus healed him! Baruck even told us afterwards to speak more softly.”
I imagine John the Baptist’s doubt went away quickly.
In your moment of doubt – admit your doubt, talk to your friends, tell Jesus, and remember the grace-actions of God in your past.
Then ask for His presence to bring you peace.