“The blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:5).
Jesus didn’t go to John’s prison cell to meet with him. His disciples were the ones who visited him once in a while. They had access to the prison and told him the news about everything that took place. But they were also the ones who little by little sowed doubts in him. They didn’t understand their former mentor’s destiny and that made John begin to wonder if Jesus was really the Messiah.
John didn’t totally understand Jesus’s ministry. He expected a different kind of powerful action at the beginning of His ministry: that would knock down the oppressor’s pride, liberate the poor and those who cried out. But things weren’t turning out that way. The Roman yoke was still heavy and Jesus didn’t seem to be doing much about it. John expected a reformation like the one in the days of Josiah and Ezra. But even his own disciples doubted the Master! Had everything he had done, preached about and sacrificed been done in vain?
Even so, he did not renounce his faith. He remembered the dove that had descended, the voice he had heard from heaven, Jesus’s purity and the testimony of prophecies.
He decided to send Jesus a message. Was He the One they had been expecting, or were they to expect someone else? If he had been a false prophet, would Jesus have acknowledged it? Who would defend John? How much did his name, fame and authority matter? Where was the Messiah?
The encounter didn’t take place. It hadn’t actually been requested either. It was born out of doubt and at the same time showed the hope to which the one asking the question desperately clung.
Jesus showed who He was once more, and that account was taken to
John. And John understood. He prepared to die for Jesus, because he believed Jesus was who He claimed to be. And Jesus spoke well of John, like none other, and blessed him.
Heaven appreciates moral value above everything else. That’s true greatness. We’re told of John that, «His unselfish joy in the ministry of Christ presents the highest type of nobility ever revealed in man» (The Desire of Ages, ch. 22, p. 219).
I don ‘t know how much you ‘re doubting today, whether you feel abandoned or if your faith is being put to the test. Jesus sends you the same message He sent John, and adds, «God blesses those who do not fall away because of me» (Matthew 11:6).