Message: “I Doubt It” – Pastor Lucas Johnson
Sunday, March 31st, 2019
John is one of the most intriguing characters in the Bible. He spent his days preaching about the coming kingdom and the need to repent, baptizing those who made professions of faith. His focus was laying the groundwork for Jesus’s earthly ministry, thus fulfilling the prophecies of both Isaiah and Malachi who foretold that John would prepare the way for the coming of Jehovah.
Throughout his ministry, John had faithfully and forcefully named Jesus as the promised Messiah and bore witness to every crowd that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. Scripture tells us that even King Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, had heard him speak. In fact, Scripture tells us in Mark 6:20 that Herod “heard him gladly.” Herod’s wife Herodias, however, was not a fan. She had been married to Herod’s brother until she was persuaded by Herod to divorce and marry him instead. John, who was bold in denouncing sin, would have pulled no punches about this “unlawful” relationship and so Herodias “set herself against [John], and desired to kill him.”
With such a powerful enemy, it’s no surprise that John eventually finds himself in a prison cell. Herodias wanted him dead, and there was no reason for him to believe he’d be spared. So now, in a dark and filthy cell, John is left alone with his thoughts. Doubt begins to creep in, and he finds himself besieged by uncertainty. John’s preaching and teaching ended 400 years of prophetic silence - he had spent his entire ministry preparing the way for the Messiah. What if he had been wrong all along? Israel had seen many false prophets throughout its history – who was to say that he himself wasn’t one? What if Jesus was an imposter and not the Messiah after all?
Think about how those doubts must have tormented him. John was a man of deep integrity – dying for a just cause was one thing, dying a fool was another.
So, John sends two of his closest friends to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus loved John – He knew his heart, and He understood the fear and doubt behind John’s question. He invites John’s friends to sit near him as he heals the sick and casts out demons. Then, Jesus simply says, “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, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” There’s no rebuke, no chastisement in His words, only mercy and grace.
Jesus’ response to John is the same He offers to us when we cry out in times of distress, plagued by doubt, overwhelmed by fear. Though we may not always get the answer we hope for when we turn to Him in prayer, we can rest assured that His way is higher than our ways, He hears, He cares, and He will always answer.
1. How do we overcome doubt?
Think like a child
Trust Like a Child
2. What’s the difference between doubt and unbelief?
3. Can doubt be good for your Christian walk?
4. Have you ever questioned God? How did you overcome your doubts? Have you overcome them?