Summary: Trusting in God in times of doubt

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John In Doubt

Matthew 11:1-5 (February 9,2003)


A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued:

"Is anyone up there?"

"I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?"

"Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer."

"That’s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch."

A moment of pause, then: "Is anyone else up there?"

This illustration paints a good picture of a multitude of believers. Whenever we are hanging by a limb or when our faith is being tested, we become deceived by Satan and start doubting God.

In this mornings Scripture we read of John the Baptist. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist;

The Old Testament Prophesied the Birth of John Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.

John was to be the forerunner of Christ, the man who paved the way for the Messiah. This morning we are going to look at this prophet from God, the one Jesus said was the greatest who ever lived, dealing with an issue of doubt.

1. Johns Question of Doubt (Vv. 1-3)

A. Jesus Commanding His Disciples (v.1)

“Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

If you look in the previous chapter Matt 10:5 we find “Jesus sent out and commanded them. “ Jesus had commanded them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (v6), to preach the Kingdom of Heaven, Heal the sick, raise the dead, and heal the lepers, cast out Demons. (v.7)

Jesus had told them he was sending them out as sheep among the wolves (v.16), He told them they would be hated (v.22) He told them to confess Christ before men (v.32)

After Jesus concluded his teachings to the disciples, “He departed” to minister in the communities around Galilee. Jesus went to theses areas for a twofold purpose the “teach” and to “preach” To “teach” means Jesus was going to instruct the people on how to live and the way’s of God. To “preach” meant Jesus was going to proclaim the truth and the kingdom of God.

Just as Jesus departed into the region to teach and preach, today he uses preachers, teachers, singers, missionaries, and The Word of God, the BIBLE to teach the way of righteousness, Holiness, sanctification, and to Proclaim salvation and the Kingdom of God

B. John In Prison (v.2)

2And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples .”

John the Baptist at this time was in prison. He had been placed in prison according to Matt 14 for Preaching against the Adulteress marriage of Herod Antipas. Herod had seduced the wife of his half brother Phillip, than divorced his wife and married Herodias, which was his brother’s wife.

John at this point had meet and baptized Jesus, but he had never heard him preach nor had he seen Jesus perform any miracles, but he had “Heard about the works of Christ”

C. Johns Question (v.3)

“Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?

John was referring to the coming of the Messiah; John knew the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of Christ.

He knew Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He knew Micah 5:2 said that from Bethlehem would come the one who would be the ruler of Israel

And now John wants to know are you the Messiah or do I look for another one.

You will remember that it was it was John who saw Jesus walking in a distance and Proclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” John who Baptized Jesus, It was John who saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove out of heaven, It was John who heard God speck and say “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” So we have to ask, “Why did John Doubt Jesus?”

2. Johns Reason For Doubt (v.2a)

A. His imprisonment (v.2a)

John doubted because he was placed in prison. John was a man of the wilderness and now he was held captive indoors, he was a preacher and now he had been silenced.

The Bible say’s John was full of the Holy Ghost before he was born. John had separated himself for God he had taken the oath of a Nazerite which was the strictest Jewish vow. He had spent most his live in the wilderness preaching the gospel and now he is in prison. So he begins to doubt.

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