Honest Doubt When We’re Disappointed

Me, myself and againThis Sunday, we’ll be returning to our study in the Gospel of Luke, and we’ll be reading vs 18-35.

John the Baptist reappears in our narrative.  We read back in Luke 3:19 that Herod, Rome’s puppet king over Palestine had put John in prison because he was publicly speaking against his marriage to his brother’s wife.  While he is sitting in jail, awaiting the rise of the Messiah/King/Conquerer…he hears stories about Jesus being nice to tax collectors, and healing servants of Roman officers…and he is suddenly and quite understandably, nagged by doubts about Jesus being the Messiah.

How does Jesus respond to John’s obvious doubt and concern?  Do John’s doubts influence Jesus’ summary of John’s ministry?  What is the basis for John’s doubts…why does  he begin to doubt Jesus?  What can we learn from that as we examine our own struggle with doubt?

Those are some of the things we’ll be looking at on Sunday.  Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend, and please don’t forget to pray for the families of those who have been lost in our country’s wars.

5 comments

  1. This causes me to think back to an earlier study in Luke. Chapter 4:18-19. Jesus declares the purpose of His ministry. I can imagine the parishee’s and all the obedient jews hearing, “I have been sent to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” What was their reaction to this? It was not that at last I am included in God’s plan.

    I don’t think John is expressing any doubt, but he is saying, ” I have heard of the Messiah, but I am locked up, tell me what He is doing.” Jesus’s answer suggests to me that he is describing V 18-19. Jesus knew that John was aware of this and told those to go tell him what they had seen and heard.

    Currently, what gives you doubt? Could it be those things or people we depend on to provide the answers of the day? Like maybe elected leaders, church leaders, celebrities, friends, media, how about Oprah, Dr. Phil, Ekart Tolle. How is that working out? When I think about navigating this world without having read God’s word, well it is like going to France and not understanding french.

    A friend of mine and I were discussing Gods’ word and Jesus Christ the other day, and it just appears that since Jesus was born the world has tried to destory Him. Now after some 2,000+ years. They are still talking about Him and still trying to destroy Him. Reminds me of an old western I saw with Willie Nelson as a preacher. He is sent to a small town to build a church. He is new in town and meets some of the men of the town. He introduces himself and invites them to service on sunday. He explains they will reading from Matthew Chapter 4. They ask what that is about. The preacher explains that Jesus is tempted by the devil. They ask how it turns out. The preacher says, “The olde boy did ok, in fact, they are still talking about today.”

  2. I thought when I put my trust in Christ that everything would become clear to me: the world, my life, relationships. My journey following Jesus has not at all been what I thought it would be. I have doubted that Jesus was there for me when things were extremely difficult and did not make sense. I can understand why John would doubt as well. I am so thankful that He understands me and loves me anyway.

  3. We doubt when our expectations are not met. Our expectations come from our preconceived ideas of who we think God is and how we think God should act. When God does something differently than what we expect Him to do, it sometimes throws us into a tail-spin, shaking our faith. We get confused, or grow angry, or become leary of trusting Him.
    Jesus was acting in ways that John the Baptist didn’t expect, causing him to doubt — at least a little. Think about it…if John the Baptist had doubts, then why shouldn’t we? John’s main purpose was to recognize Jesus and to point Him out to the world.
    After walking with Jesus for a while, we begin to think we know Him. Then we start expecting Him to do things the way He has done them before. These stories about Jesus, as well as my life experiences, teach me that Jesus is much bigger than I am. His ways are higher than my ways, & for as long I live, He will always have more sides of Himself to show me, than I can think or imagine today. Sadly, I sometimes grow cynical when he does something I don’t expect, but if I commit to trusting in Him, I eventually appreciate this new side of His personality.
    Jesus’ response concerning John and his doubts gives us hope when we doubt. Jesus wasn’t mad at John, in fact, He praised John for all to hear.

  4. Patti- exactly what I was thinking. John knew Jesus in a way that few did, they were family. John grew up hearing the stories told by his mom and Mary. Mix that with a healthy dose of Jewish Messanic traditions and it only makes sense that John might ask, ” just checking Cuz, but you are the one right?”

    As you said, the quickest route to a full blown fit of depression is to expect God to react as he has in the past. Sometimes he does. Most of the time he does not. It can be maddening at times. At times the answer seems so easy…. why is God making things so hard? But that has always been his modus operandi so time began — he keeps us guessing and our footing just a bit unsure so we can never fully depend on ourselves. And if we can wait and trust (two of the toughest things for humankind to do).

    1. And if we can wait and trust (two of the toughest things for human kind to do) then we are usually surprised (wonderfully so) by what our Father really was doing.

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