When Fears and Doubts Assail (Luke 7; Matthew 9)

Scripture reading – Matthew 9; Luke 7

This is the second of two devotionals for today, and is focused on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 7.

Luke 7

Some of Jesus’ greatest miracles are recorded in Luke 7. He healed a dying servant in response to a Roman centurion’s faith (Luke 7:1-10; note also Matthew 8:5-13). He also raised the son of a poor widow from the dead (7:11-17).

John Questioned: Was Jesus the Messiah? (7:18-23)

We are made privy to an intriguing conversation when the followers of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, came to Jesus. On behalf of John, his disciples asked if Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (7:18-35).

Lest we be hard on John the Baptist, remember he had been imprisoned several months for confronting king Herod’s adultery with his brother’s wife (3:19-20). The hardships of prison, his isolation from the people, and knowing his life and ministry were nearing the end, John wanted assurance Jesus was the promised One, Israel’s Messiah.

Rather than give a rebuke to John, Jesus responded to the questions posed by John’s followers with reassurances. In ancient times, miraculous works were considered a proof text of one’s power from God. Scripture says, “in that same hour [Jesus] cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight”, in essence showing the people He was who He said He was (7:21). Having performed miracles no man could explain apart from God, Jesus commanded John’s followers, “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached” (7:22).

Who was John the Baptist? (7:24-34)

As John’s disciples departed, Jesus turned to the people and affirmed the ministry of His forerunner (7:24-28). He hailed John’s character saying, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).

Closing thoughts – We do not know the number of disciples who followed John the Baptist. Yet, in his most vulnerable hour we find there were “two of his disciples” (7:19) to whom he expressed his earnest longings and desires. John “sent them to Jesus saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?” (Luke 7:19b).

Application – If there was never a greater prophet than John “born of women,” and he struggled with doubts, surely, we should be prepared when the same affliction befalls us. Providential for John, there were two men in whom he could confide and express his doubts. What a comfort to see Jesus was patient when John’s disciples questioned Him, and His opinion of John the Baptist was not diminished. What a wonderful, caring, understanding, compassionate Lord we serve!

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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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