Matthew 11:2-3 (KJV) “Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto Him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
John the Baptist was Jesus’ earthly cousin set apart even before he was conceived to be “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23 KJV) preparing people for the ministry of the promised Messiah. John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15 KJV). John’s entire life was devoted to God in a ministry like none other. John baptized Jesus and witnessed the Holy Spirit descending upon Christ and he witnessed God the Father’s own proclamation that Jesus was His son. John knew Isaiah’s prophecies. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah who was to come and save His people and he testified publicly to that fact (John 3:22-36 KJV). John lived a life of faith.
So, what happened to John’s faith when he was imprisoned by Herod? He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was indeed the Messiah. How could he not know? How could he be questioning this? Was he wondering if his life’s work, his ministry, was in vain? Jesus was not the type of Messiah, the King of kings that they expected. Even John as intimately as he knew God and knew Isaiah’s writings, perhaps he had other expectations. Perhaps he was greatly discouraged sitting in that prison. Who wouldn’t be….but still…
John had experiences. Not just one, but many divine experiences. Enough that one would think that he could never doubt the truth, never doubt God and never doubt who Jesus really is. But “experiences” aren’t enough. Jesus himself showed us that in His response to John’s question. He didn’t chide him, but neither did he give John another experience. He didn’t give him an emotional, “feel-good” moment.
Matthew 11:4-6 (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto them, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
In the midst of John’s languid faith and emotional discouragement, Jesus gave John the Word. He referred John back to Isaiah’s writings (Isaiah 52, 53). Jesus didn’t swoop in with a spiritual experience–He comforted John with God’s Word. Jesus, God’s Word in the flesh, reminded John of what God had said and reminded him that He was God’s Word accomplishing all that God had promised.
As a matter of fact, after John’s disciples left, Jesus went on to speak great things about John–that there was none greater born of woman than he! Now that would have been great experience for John..how uplifting and encouraging. But Christ didn’t give John that. He gave him the Word.
We can seek an experience. (Many churches even offer them now instead of worship services.) We can cry out for an experience. We can beg God to speak to us and give us a word for the moment, the month, the year. Yet…He ALREADY has.
Hebrews 1:1-2 KJV “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;”
Jesus–The Word in the flesh, who dwelt among us (John 1:14 KJV)–spoke many things to us and we have them written down, easily accessible to learn, study, memorize, hide in our heart.
We are blessed to have literal translations of what He wants us to know. Why is it not enough? Why seek a modern or trendy postmodern experience? If God’s Word was good enough for John the Baptist, shouldn’t it be good enough for us?
Jesus Christ is Enough.
God’s Word is Enough.