Answers for a Man in Prison

“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 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.” [Matthew 11:3-6 NIV]

At first glance Jesus' answer to John the Baptist is a bit confusing and a tad harsh. On the surface John seems to be asking Jesus if he is really the Messiah. It is a reasonable question for a man in prison to ask. After all, was it not prophesied by Isaiah that the Messiah would set those in prison free?

Jesus' answer is twofold. He first answers the external question. I am doing things commensurate with Messianic ministry. Jesus then goes deeper. He focuses on the heart of John's question. He tells John that he is not going to rescue him. Then proceeds to counsel him saying that he is in danger of stumbling.

Jesus advice is so appropriate for people who are suffering. It is so easy to stumble spiritually when our prayers are not answered. And sadly, the stumble often leads to a rejection of God. Yet there is a blessing for those who persevere in faith in hard times. These are the ones who emerge with a refined faith.

Help us Lord to not stumble over unanswered prayers.
Teach us to allow suffering to refine, and not destroy, our faith.

... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.

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