Monday, March 14, 2016

Doubt Matthew 11:2-6

Doubt. It's one of those things that Christians don't like to talk about. I usually think more about having faith instead of doubting. But, particularly when I had to quit working because of my chronic migraine, I struggled with doubt. I didn't doubt God's existence, but I doubted his love for me. I meditated on lots of scripture during that time (and now).

Yesterday, our pastor used the passage Matthew 11:2-6 as a text to preach about doubt. I had never considered this before.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
John was questioning if Jesus was really the Messiah. What? I guess I can understand it. John is in prison for speaking out against Herod Antipas killing his wife and marrying his brother's wife. He's lucky that Herod hadn't already killed him.

But, you'd think that he had to have grown up knowing about Jesus. Mary and Elizabeth, their mothers, were cousins so they were second cousins (I guess?). They probably didn't grow up in the same town since the Bible talks about Mary having to go to visit Elizabeth. But, Elizabeth knew that Jesus was special (Luke 1:39-45). I imagine that John heard a lot about Jesus while he was growing up.

He and Jesus were just about the same age. I wonder what the two of them were doing between coming of age and when Jesus started preaching? Did John wait until about age 30 to start preaching or had he been preaching for 5 or 10 years before Jesus started his ministry? Did John know since childhood that his cousin Jesus was special or that he was likely the Messiah?

Being in prison, though, made John doubt. And, no wonder. Prison in the first century in the Middle East can't have been much fun. And John had to have known that he'd ticked off Herod enough that he was looking at a death sentence.

And how did Jesus respond? He said to look at his record. Look at the things that he had done. It was all Messiah-like. Nobody else had done that kind of stuff.

And when I was doubting that God still loved me since I had to quit work because of chronic migraine, that's what it came back to for me. Jesus and I had a history together. We'd been walking together (OK, sometimes he'd been dragging me) since I was 17. God never promised an easy life to anyone, but he said that he'd walk with us through it. 

John 16:33 -  In this world you will have trouble; but, take heart, I have overcome the world. 

Do you doubt? What helps you overcome it? Do you overcome it? Are you still doubting? What doubts do you have? Let's talk about it.

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