Never doubt in dark circumstances what God has shown you in the light. John saw, when he first laid eyes on Jesus Christ, that Jesus was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. Now, from his prison cell, he second guesses himself. His interpretation of what being a forerunner of Jesus Christ meant probably didn't include prison.
Jesus doesn't reprimand John for doubting. He simply reminds John's disciples of the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 which He had read when He visited the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:18-19). He includes details of how Isaiah 61:1-2 is being fulfilled. He then informs the crowd that John is a prophet. John's beheading prophesies of Christ's crucifixion.
Prison and death by be-heading weren't included in the forerunner's job description nor in his interpretation of how things happen. So, the unexpected leads to doubt. Had he misunderstood who Jesus was? No, he simply misunderstood his role and how things would actually play out. Doubts naturally come when our interpretation of God's will doesn't come to pass. God seldom does things the way we think He will do them.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading
Luke 7:18-35; Matthew 11:1-19
- Why is John the Baptist now questioning Jesus' identity?
- How do the Pharisees differ in their response to John the Baptist and Jesus?
- How does Jesus describe the kingdom of heaven and those who lay hold of the kingdom?
- How does this relate to John the Baptist?
- How does Jesus confront the Pharisee about his attitude?
- Why do sinners feel safer in the presence of Jesus than in the presence of Pharisees?
- Describe the women who follow Jesus.
- How do the teachers of the law describe Jesus?
- What gives Jesus the authority to plunder Satan?
- How does Jesus define blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
- How do the Pharisees explain Jesus' miracles?
- What does Jesus' driving out demons demonstrate to the Pharisees?
- What is the source of evil? What does this tell you about the Pharisees?
- How does Jesus "poke holes" in the Pharisees' reasoning?
Ask the Lord to allow you to see your treatment of others (areas where you act "the Pharisee"). Ask the Lord to increase your appreciation of His forgiveness by opening your eyes to all that He has forgiven you of.