Doubt and Faith

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John,calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another? And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.) “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” — Luke 7:18-34

If there was anyone who could tell that Jesus was the Messiah spoken about in the Hebrew Scriptures it would be John the Baptist. John, the quintessential prophet; the greatest of them all “preparing the way” for Jesus; shutting the door on the old covenant, while standing at the threshold of the new. John, the one preaching repentance, and now isolated in a prison cell for calling others to account. John, the cousin of Jesus.

Isn’t it shocking then that this guy, the guy who leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of Jesus, doubted. In John’s isolation, with persecution all around and death close at hand, he questioned if Jesus was THE ONE.

Yet, notice Jesus’ response. Jesus welcomed the doubt, he addressed the questions in a way that John would fully understand, and then publicly praised John for his character. John, in his isolation, chose to bring his doubts to the source. He chose to bring his questions to Jesus, and Jesus lovingly and gently encouraged him to press on.

Doubt is a part of life. It is part of the impact of living in the in-between. The stage between our hope and reality. People often mistake doubting with lack of faith, or sin. However, it takes courageous faith to bring your doubts before the source. It takes faith to ask the questions of Jesus believing that He will answer and that He is big enough to handle it. No, doubt is not the sin. Choosing to deny the existence of those doubts, letting them fester, and building a wall between you and Jesus is the real tragedy.

So what do you do with your doubts? Do you bring them to Christ? Do you even admit you have them? What would happen if you did?

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