John 1:6-8, 19-28; Luke 7:2-35
I wish I could tell you that it will be easy. I wish for myself that it was easy. I wish that following Jesus in every moment, seamlessly weaving His glory and wisdom and love into every action and conversation was as natural as breathing. But I know it's not that easy for me, and I'll bet it's not that easy for you. But was it even easy for John the Baptist?
In Luke 7 we see John, trapped in prison, sending his followers to ask Jesus if He was really the Expected One, the Messiah. John! The one who recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” who baptized him! How could he doubt? His followers had just told him about Jesus healing someone from miles away, and Jesus bringing a dead man to life. How could John possibly think that anyone else could be the Messiah? And if John could think that, with all that firsthand and secondhand proof, then how can we ever be confident and secure in our faith?
As an answer, Jesus quotes variations on phrases from Isaiah 35:5-6, all of which were true: people being healed from all sorts of maladies and infirmities. But I have to think Jesus knew that John knew what came right before that passage. In Isaiah 35:3-4 it says “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'”
We don’t know the entire terrain of John’s journey, either geographical or spiritual. We don’t know how deep his doubt was, or how long he held it. And we know that Jesus, presumably somehow for the glory of God, did not act to spring John from prison. But to the one who had so boldly prepared the way for the Awaited One, but had fallen into doubt, Jesus pointed forth to the fulfillment of all things, which we still wait for today.
Waiting is not easy. But God, who knows and loves you infinitely, will not leave you without hope. He knows what you need to build your hope. That doesn’t mean easy answers. But if you want to hope, if you want to find hope in Him, you will be provided what you need to build and cling to His hope, to reach out and cling to Him.