Matthew 11:1-6 Dark Times and Doubts

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.[a]

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?”

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Dark Times and Doubts

When John the Baptist boldly declared the arrival of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he was probably expecting a swift rise of a hero who would call to judgment the self-righteous leaders, the rich, and the smug in Israel.  Over time, he found himself in prison and Jesus seemed less of an agent of God;s swift judgment and more of an agent of who-knows-what.  A few times John’s disciples arrive with questions.  John and Jesus are allies, but John doesn’t understand Jesus and he has doubts.  We shouldn’t be surprised that someone who wants justice and for the world to be turned right side up would have doubts when they are sitting in prison.

Jesus’ response is to show him that the kingdom is more gentle than he might have imagined.  Jesus is doing powerful things in the lives of the weak.  This is in line with John’s stance and also in line with biblical prophesy.  So John is reassured.

When we struggle and doubt we still need to come to God.  We need to ask God the hard questions.  We need to talk openly from our dark places.  Jesus is gentle with those who are sincerely troubled but who come to him.  Sometimes he needs to rebuke us and discipline us to get us back on the right path.  However, his aims are to get us to the place we were meant to be.  John will be beheaded.  Sometimes life takes turns we can not anticipate.  However, our lives are going to give glory to God whether we want them to or not.  It is best to get our lives straight with God and find in him the strength to endure whatever life throws at us in the moment.

Questions

  1. What is John’s question?
  2. What is Jesus’ reply?
  3. Why do you think John had these questions?
  4. How do you question God in dark times?
  5. How do you think Jesus responds to your questions based on his response to John?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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One Response to Matthew 11:1-6 Dark Times and Doubts

  1. Kelli says:

    1. Are you the one? Or should we be looking for someone else?
    2. Report to John what you hear and see. I am giving the blind their sight. I am healing the lame….blesseed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me. (Peter, can you clarify that last part? Specifically, what does “stumble” mean in this context?)
    3. Because Jesus was not behaving as he assumed the Messiah would.
    4. I am ashamed that I have questioned just about everything. God’s existence. His goodness. His sovereignty. His love. It wasn’t pretty.
    5. Look at what I have done.

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