“Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3)
John the Baptist might have been the first to ask this of Jesus, but he certainly wasn’t to be the last!!! After coming to a personal revelation of Jesus Christ, hearing the very words of God declare to him: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17), and going on himself to give a personal testimony (John 1:29-34), John the Baptist faced a question of faith concerning Jesus, while he was held a prisoner of Herod.
When this happened, and he sent his followers to Jesus to enquire of Him, all Jesus did to state His claim of Christ was to point to His works: “The blind see 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” (Matt 11:5). One might have wondered what was going through John’s mind that he could question Jesus after coming to know Him face to face! Jesus even spoke highly of Him, saying that he was the greatest of all the prophets that came before him (Matt 11:11)! However, “he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he” (v11).
Why was John so great? Because he prepared the way for and saw the days of the Christ, and met with Him face to face (Matt 13:17)! Why are those who are in the Kingdom of Heaven greater? Because though they did not see Jesus, yet they believed and accepted Christ (John 20:29)!
You see, the currency of Heaven is FAITH, and not just faith in anyone – faith in Jesus! It is this faith that saves (Eph 2:8) and the smallest quantity of it is enough to move mountains (Matt 17:20). However, having the faith to hear and believe is one thing, but what is required for Heaven is the faith to ABIDE and bear fruit (Luke 8:5-8)! To keep on believing, even when it seems all hope is lost, even if things don’t work out the way you thought they would… (Matt 24:13).
The problem with humanity is that its faith is not loyal nor enduring… We easily give in to doubt when the storms come; like Peter who came out to walk on the sea with Jesus (Matt 14:29-31), and like John who doubted, when he was thrown in prison. Sometimes, this disloyalty is not brought about by tribulation… A lot of the time, it is just TEMPTATION!
The Devil doesn’t like to see us living in peace and joy, content in our revelation of Christ. He tempts us with ‘higher truth’ by his angels, who pretend to be ministers of light (2 Cor 11:13-15). He appeals to our PRIDE, and offers his petty ‘wisdom’, so that we might not abide in Christ, which is Christ’s fundamental demand of us! Jesus said that our discipleship will be proven by our continuance in His teaching (John 8:31)… But we easily forsake His pure and simple Wisdom, for the wisdom of the world or the Devil, and cloud our noble faith with RELIGION.
It is rarely conscious when one turns aside to fables, rather than holding to the Truth. However, spiritual confusion is the ammunition of the enemy! He plants his weeds among the crops as the Lord spoke about in His parable (Matt 13:24-30). The weeds grow with the crops, until the Day of Judgment when the former will be tossed to the left for burning, and the latter to the right for glory! Those who listen to the Devil’s lies become offended at the simplicity of Christ! Or by the cost of enduring, which requires a daily sacrifice of self (Luke 9:23, 62).
Jesus’ comment to John’s questioning is a plea to all of us today, who are restless in Him: “blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Matt 11:6). John may have expected Christ to overthrow the Romans, like many of his brethren at that time. For the fact that Jesus had no such agenda, he might have been offended. Jesus’ brothers and kin were offended simply because they knew Him when He was little, so He could do no great work among them (Mark 6:4-5). Jesus lost disciples when He told them that they must forsake all (Luke 12:33) and when He spoke of His body and blood as real food and drink (John 6:55, 60), something they could not fathom.
Are you offended by Jesus? Are you following a forerunner to Jesus, or a new ‘prophet’? Are His teachings too hard to take…or too simple to believe? Or is it that you just can’t get your head around the fact that He is the Son of God – and God too?! Whatever the offence, know this: Jesus “is the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). He is the One we’ve all been waiting for – “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Those before Him prepared the world for His coming, but everyone after Him seeking your following is a distraction and a thief (Matt 24:24)!
When you believe in Him, Jesus of Nazareth, you receive the Spirit of Truth, and It sets you free from every other bondage (John 8:32, 36). You can truly REST and ABIDE in Him, because the search is over!
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