Jesus and John the Baptist
11 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Your circumstances compete for your faith and spiritual strength. All too often we become discouraged and discontent when our expectations do not “line up” with Jesus’ purpose.
Let that soak in for just a moment.
John the Baptist was sitting behind prison walls for condemning Herod Antipas for unlawfully taking his brother’s wife, Herodias. It was during his time in prison that John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Mind you, this is coming out of the mouth from the same man who said he was unfit to carry Jesus’ sandals and who also didn’t want to initially baptize Jesus because he felt so unworthy. In fact, John said in Matthew 3:14, But John tried to stop him. John said, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I should be baptized by you!”
So what changed in John’s life to now ask the Messiah that he personally baptized if they should be expecting someone else to come? The answer – his walls! Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that John lost his faith at all; I’m simply challenging you to look deeper into how your circumstances impact your spiritual strength.
Maybe John didn’t expect to be in prison. Maybe he thought that he would be delivered. While behind bars, he gets word of Jesus continuing to preach and teach. Maybe John was feeling discouraged because he wasn’t out there doing what he does best – being the forerunning for the Messiah. We can only speculate; however, we do know that his circumstances had changed.
What about you?
Is it easy to proclaim God’s goodness when operating fully in His gifts and seeing the fruits of His goodness? What about when trials come your way? What happens when you find yourself sitting in your own personal prisons and chained down by the enemies of fear, doubt, sadness, confusion, anger, and regret? What about then? We surely cannot point fingers at John for asking Jesus if He was the one to come or should they expect someone else!
Jesus gives a very clear response to John’s disciples who were instructed to report back to John. Matthew 11:4-6, Jesus answered, “Go back to John and tell him about the things you hear and see: 5 The blind can see. The crippled can walk. People with harmful skin diseases are healed. The deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life. And the Good News is told to the poor. 6 The person who does not lose faith because of me is blessed.”
…but what about the prisoners will be freed? Huh? What about John in prison?! [Stay with me!]…what happened to John even after his disciples returned and gave him the good news? Was John freed? Was John miraculously saved from the physical prison walls? No! In fact, he remained in prison and was eventually beheaded.
So, I’ll ask the question again…what happens when your expectations do not match with Jesus’ purpose? Ah! now it becomes clear! Your expectations are merely dust in comparison to God’s mighty plan for your life and those around you.
~Jesus came to set the captives free!
~He came to heal!
~He came to deliver!
~He came to model the Father’s will!
~He came to cast out demons!
~He came to restore!
~He came to save!
…and so much more. Yet, your life’s expectations may not align with His purpose.
~So wherever you find yourself, praise Him.
~So wherever you find yourself, worship Him.
~So wherever you find yourself, honor Him.
~So wherever you find yourself, submit to Him.
~So wherever you find yourself, glorify Him.
May you always know that He is King of Kings and never doubt His Lordship over all the earth! His authority does not change based on your circumstances, but your expectations will!
Challenge: How do you view Jesus based on your circumstances?