In this chapter, we find John the Baptist in an intense season of doubt and fear. He was in prison after being arrested by King Herod, and in his struggle of faith he asked of Jesus, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?"
That's right… the same John who had been there on the Jordan River when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove… the same John who heard the voice of God say, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"… the same John who had publicly testified that Jesus was the Son of God, saying, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"… doubted that Jesus was whom He said He was.
John… the great sage, prophet, and spiritual leader… struggled with doubt!
Yet through his struggle we learn two lessons that can encourage us when we find ourselves in a season of doubt.
The first lesson is to go to the right place with our doubts and fears—which is straight to the Lord.
What I love about John is that he didn't let pride keep him from going to the Lord about his doubts and fears. He could have thought, "Hey, I told everybody He's the One! What will my disciples think if I let them know I'm doubting? I'm going to look really stupid if it looks like I doubt the very things I've preached and proclaimed myself."
Yet John went straight to the Lord… and so must we!
If you're grappling with doubt, tell the Lord. He knows anyway. The worst thing you can do when you're having a crisis of faith is to allow yourself to become isolated, because Satan knows that isolation is where you are most vulnerable. When you doubt, you must draw close to God and to friends of faith who can encourage you!
The second lesson we can learn from John's crisis of faith is that in the eyes of the Lord, it's the whole journey that defines us—not just a single event.
You know, when John's disciples left and Jesus began talking to the multitude, He could have said, "John is such a disappointment! I can't believe it. He was there at the Jordan River at My baptism… God has dealt with him like no other man of this generation… he has more knowledge than a hundred men put together. He's My cousin, for goodness sake! I can't believe he's asking Me if I am the One!"
But Jesus didn't say that. Instead, He said, "Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist."
Even though John doubted, Jesus didn't condemn him!
And when you stumble, Jesus won't condemn you because of that one misstep. Even though some people may define who you are by one stupid mistake you've made, God doesn't. He's looking at the whole journey… and your journey isn't done.
So, my friend, no matter what doubt you may be facing today, be encouraged. Jesus is always there for you… ready for you to come to Him. And don't worry if you've messed up. He won't condemn you, but instead, He looks at the whole of your life!