How Jesus Responded to Doubt
by J Warner Wallace
As a detective, I’ve learned to evaluate words carefully when considering the statements of victims, witnesses and suspects. What someone didn’t say is often more important than what they actually did say. In fact, I often stop and ask myself, what were some of the options available when this person made this specific statement? What could they have said in this particular circumstance and what does their choice of words tell us about their thoughts or the truth of the situation? As a new investigator of the gospels, I found myself asking the same kinds of questions as I studied God’s response to doubt. What does God think about those of us who occasionally doubt, and what would He recommend for those of us who occasionally struggle? There is an important passage of Scripture that provides us with an answer.
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Jesus said that “among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). John was a godly man raised in a godly home. His parents served God and his mother, Elizabeth, knew that Jesus was “Lord” while He was still in His mother Mary’s womb (Luke 1:39-45). Surely John grew up with this information, and Jesus’ status as Messiah was confirmed to him when he saw God’s Spirit descend on Jesus at the point of His baptism (Luke 3:22). If anyone should have been sure of Jesus’ identity, it was John the Baptist. But the New Testament reveals a moment of dramatic doubt in John’s life. Even after hearing from the disciples about all that Jesus had done and the reaction that Jesus was receiving from those who witnessed His miracles, John sent two of his own disciples to as Jesus a question that revealed his doubt: “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” (Luke 7:19). Jesus’ response was important and revealing. “At that very time” Jesus cured many people in the presence of John’s disciples then said, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Luke 7:22-23).
Now think about all the things that Jesus could have done or said in response to John’s expression of doubt…
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