7

Clearly John was a prophet and he dedicated his life to God. God revealed to him that Jesus was the Messiah.

In Matthew 3:13-17 he baptized Jesus, and proclaimed that he is The One in John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

When John was arrested suddenly he doubts Jesus as Messiah. In Matthew 11:2-11

"Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?"

This doesn't make sense. How should I understand it?

3

When John was arrested suddenly he doubts Jesus as Messiah. In Matthew 11:2-11
"Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?"

This doesn't make sense. How should I understand it?

John was the last of the line of Old Testament prophets.

Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

The faith of the Old Testament saints is different than what we receive.

Hebrews 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

We have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have new life in Christ now. John did what he was called to do and by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was not done through his understanding but through his faithfulness. Like most of Israel he had expectations about the kingdom and was mystified that not only had the kingdom not come, but he was in prison awaiting execution. It should be expected that he would wonder if he missed something.

Another example of faith without much comprehension can be found with Peter;

John 6:66-68 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

It is interesting to note that Jesus does not give John any verbal assurance of his messiahship but directs his attention the the works he had done. I do not see John's doubts as doubts of faith, but of doubts of understanding. Jesus was in effect saying, "It is not for you to understand, just be assured having seen the power of God working."

Instead of an unsettling picture of John's weak faith, I see the comfort the Lord provides those who are faithful.

8

In the beginning of John's mission, he seemed to think that God was coming in wrath to judge the wicked:

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? ... Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. ... His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

(Matthew 3:7, 10, 12)

Jesus, although he could use hot words, did not seem to be the sort of Messiah that John was expecting. Thus, perhaps John doubted when Jesus was not who he thought the Messiah would be; but when he saw the sorts of signs Jesus worked, he had to ask. Jesus reminded John that what he did was what the Messiah would do, and he seems to have warned John that Jesus might not fulfill his expectations, but that did not mean that John should disbelieve:

"Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight [Isaiah 29:18b, 35:5a], the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear [Isaiah 29:18a, 35:5b], the dead are raised [Isaiah 26:19], and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them [Isaiah 61:1].

And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."

  • and that is why we have Matthew 11:11, because John doubted JC and wasn't humbled enough? – Grasper Oct 16 '14 at 20:48
  • @Grasper maybe not; Matthew 11:11 seems to be saying that "the least in the kingdom is greater than [John]" not because John doubted, but simply because being in the kingdom is such a Massively Huge Thing. – Matt Gutting Oct 16 '14 at 20:58
  • @MattGutting I hope you are well. Good answer as the Navarre Bible note to 11:3 has: The Baptist expected more obvious signs of the Messiah. By quoting the prophet Isaiah, Jesus showed that he was indeed inaugurating the messianic kingdom - but doing good rather than glorious manifestations or sudden punishments.' – user13992 Oct 17 '14 at 5:51
  • so what is the answer? The prophet wasn't fully a prophet or he was sinful and was expecting something else? Your answer contradict John's anointment to be a prophet by God. – Grasper Oct 17 '14 at 18:03
  • @Grasper the answer is "Jesus ... did not seem to be the sort of Messiah that John was expecting [and therefore] John doubted when Jesus was not who [John] thought the Messiah would be". How does that contradict John's ability to be a prophet? – Matt Gutting Oct 17 '14 at 18:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.