Matthew 11:4-5 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
I like what Christ has to say to John the Baptist’s disciples in order to give hope to John, who is languishing in a dungeon beneath King Herod’s palace. The message is one which will restore John’s confidence and strengthen his faith. In the darkness and isolation of his bleak cell, John must have been tortured by self-doubt and misery. He had staked his reputation on pointing out to people that Jesus was the Messiah they were looking for. He asks Jesus to confirm this because he fears that he may have been mistaken.
John’s situation would have reduced anyone to this level. When he was outside of his cell, proclaiming God’s message to his people, he was fearless and courageous. Now he was trapped in a dark, dank, and miserable cell where his mind was overloaded with anxiety and his spirit downcast with depression. No wonder then that John begins to lose some sort of grip on reality, so like most of the people at that time, he turns to Jesus to ask for help and healing.
Christ does not disappoint him. He tells John’s messengers about all the wonderful miracles that are taking place, as well as adding that the good news of salvation is being proclaimed, especially to the poor. This is all that John needs to hear to reactivate his faith and restore his confidence. Jesus is doing all of the things that had been prophesied, so John accepts this news with a grateful heart.
Perhaps you are experiencing some trouble in your life or are feeling isolated and disillusioned. Maybe you feel trapped in a situation which seems hopeless because you are powerless to change things. Let Christ’s Spirit enter into you. Let His words of faith calm your fears and settle your souls. Let His love embrace, energize, and encourage you. You are not alone – Christ is with you, ready to help and heal you, too.
Point to ponder
What things negatively impact my faith in God? How can Christ restore me?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you know us completely and are perfectly aware of our present circumstances. Come to us and lift us up. Heal and restore us; embrace and encourage us. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
As you reflect on today’s scripture and message, watch and listen to the great Country singer Alan Jackson sing the old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,’ at this link:
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can view the church website at this link: www.erinpresbyterian.org.