When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”  Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”  —Matt 11:2-6

            John, in prison, was he having doubts about who Jesus was?  Apparently so!  Difficult circumstances for the one it was said of that “he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).  Were these prison circumstances affecting his thinking?  Were they affecting the reality of what he had gone through in life up to this point?  Apparently so!  John even said of himself:

And this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”  He did not refuse to confess, but openly declared, “I am not the Christ.”  “Then who are you?” they inquired. “Are you Elijah?”  He said, “I am not.”  “Are you the Prophet?”  He answered, “No.”  So they said to him, “Who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: “I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”  Then the Pharisees who had been sent asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”  “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands One you do not know.  He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”  All this happened at Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. —John 1:19-28

            Amazingly it is said of John— “There came a man who was sent from God. His name was John.  He came as a witness to testify about the Light, so that through him everyone might believe. He himself was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light” (John 1:6-8).  And yet as John was in that dreary prison thoughts of doubt rose up in his mind— “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”  Jesus did not condemn John about his doubt.  Instead He reminded John of the work He was doing.  Work only the Messiah could do.  Jesus encouraged John through His Word.

            Going through a dark time?  Let God encourage you through His Word.  Let Him remind You who He is, who you are and the reasons for why we are living and the home we will one day arrive at… that home in heaven with Jesus and all who love Him.  Until then, “let us run with endurance the race set out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Whatever our race entails, let us run it for His glory.  He designed our course.  Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus… the author and finisher of our faith!  Jesus endured for the joy to come… May we as well!

Dear Father please help me to run and finish the race You have designed for me.  May I do so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  Thank You for the joy of knowing Jesus and the joy that is before me… the joy to come…

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