Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive 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. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6)
John the Baptist was imprisoned for rebuking King Herod, who had married his brother’s wife. Try and imagine the sense of confusion, loneliness, and doubt he must have experience after being thrown into a dungeon for doing what was morally right. John was understandably struggling in his difficult circumstances and sent his disciples to Jesus, probably in hopes of receiving conﬁrmation that his faith had not been misplaced. However difficult it might have been for John the Baptist in that dungeon, rest assured that when he received Jesus’ response, he was refreshed and strengthened. His disciples brought back a message from Jesus that painted a picture of the Messiah serving His people. Yes, John the Baptist had been unfairly imprisoned, but he also had conﬁdence that he had put his hope in the true Messiah, the Expected One.
If we were in John the Baptist’s position, we would face many of the difficult emotions he likely faced (such as loneliness, sadness, and doubt). However, we might also ﬁnd ourselves facing the unique challenge of impatience. We have been trained to expect things to arrive quickly, whether from a Google search or a fast food drive-through window. Something we might learn from Advent, as well as from today’s passage, is the important role of patience in our faith. Our Lord became a servant, and He still serves today. Our Lord performed miracles, and He still does so today. We must be patient, though, trusting in His timing as we enjoy Him now and await His return.
- When has your faith been tested? In what ways did God prove himself faithful in that difficult situation?
- When was a time you took the good news of Christ to someone who, like John the Baptist, was struggling with belief?