When Patience Leads to Unbelief

Joel Sanchez 

John the Baptist appears as the most certain witness that Christ is the Son of God. He declares it, proclaims it and defends it. John gets it right from the beginning and declares it multiple times…

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29). “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God,” (John 1:34). “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”(John 1:35-36).

But as they say, “that was then and this is now.” In Chapter 7, John finds himself in a difficult situation. He is in prison. I’ve never been in prison, but I suspect that if I were, I would not have great attitude. I would be impatient, desperate and ready to get out. And if I knew someone who could help me, I would be on the phone to them every day.

John finds himself in prison and perhaps disappointed with Jesus and His inability to do anything about his situation. He becomes impatient and in a haste that can only be created by doubt and desperation sends this message to Jesus:“

…John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” (Luke 7:20).

In other words, “Jesus, when you first came, I was all excited and I thought you were the Messiah. I thought you were going to make all things right and distribute justice and end all suffering and, yes, I even thought that you would certainly spare me from any problems and if any were to slip through, you would deliver me quickly.”

Isn’t that so much like we are? We come to Jesus and our faith is on fire. Until we hit a roadblock. All of a sudden we begin to doubt if Jesus cares, if He will ever respond to us and we even begin to doubt if Jesus is who He says He is. In desperation we cry out, “Jesus, are you who you say you are? Are you powerful? Do you listen? Do you care? Will you help me?” And I love how Jesus responds in verse Luke 7:22, “And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.’”

Jesus basically tells Him, “John look beyond your situation and look out into the world. I am at work in every situation. Big things are happening. I am who I said I am. I am who you said I am. Things are changing. Things are moving. Will you trust me?”

And in the midst of your doubt and despair Jesus tells you the same thing. Though you may question whether He listens or whether He cares, as we gather together in church and we listen to what God does in the lives of others, we are encouraged that God is at work in our lives. We simply must be patient and trust regardless of what our circumstances look like.


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