“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
John the Baptist was in the middle of a crisis.
And for what? Being honest. Living by the book. Helping the Lord’s ministry get off the ground.
And what does he get in return? Prison.
You can imagine it from John’s point of view: “After all I’ve done for you this is what I get. While you’re off gallivanting across the land, here I sit behind bars. And you haven’t even come to see me.”
You can almost hear the insinuation in his question: “Shall we look for another?” As if to say: “Cause you must not be the one. Messiah would never let this happen.”
John probably sat in his cell with a big fat lump in his throat, feeling thoroughly shafted.
And what was the Lord’s response? “Great things are happening, John! The ministry has really taken off! And… blessed is the one who is not upset over the things I allow.”
Tough pill to swallow.
How callous could you be Jesus? Couldn’t you have been a bit more understanding??
So Jesus sends the message along to John, waits for the messengers to get out of ear shot, and then declares, “No one born of women is greater the John the Baptist.”
What??? This is wild!
Okay, two things. First off – if he’s so great then why is he moldering in obscurity? And second – why in the world didn’t Jesus tell John that?! He could’ve used a little encouragement right about then.
I don’t know.
But from this passage I can see that the Lord doesn’t always come rushing in to dry our tears and to get us back on our feet. Sometimes He challenges us and leaves us to the cold realities of our life.
But that doesn’t mean we are discarded trash. God’s plan and opinion of us extends far beyond what we can see and feel. Up to that point, John the Baptist was the greatest man to have ever lived in Jesus’ estimation. Did John know that? No, and he probably never did. And in our dark moments will we always feel God’s favor? Perhaps not. But it’s good to know that our standing should not be judged by our bleak situation.
Did you hear that? Our standing should not be judged by our situation.
Sometimes that’s all I need to know. My situation doesn’t define me. What people say, or fail to say, does not define me. God’s opinion (sometimes unbeknownst to me!) is the determiner of who I am. Like John, we too can become confused, and even despondent when our situation says one thing, but just remember, THE LORD may entirely be saying another.
I love what Charles Spurgeon said, “When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.”
Patience, then, believer. That is a good word.
Often believers feel overlooked and forgotten. And judging according to the moment, or even according to a lifetime, can have the tendency to make us waver. That’s why somehow, someway, we gotta get a hold of God’s perspective, which is an ETERNAL perspective, and when we simply can’t, we must trust that it’s there, and that it’s GOOD.
Jesus said in verse 28, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God (that’s you, that’s me) is greater than he.”
Patience, then, believer, your situation does not determine your standing with God.