Show John

One Sunday morning some time ago while gathered together with my church family to worship the Lord Jesus, a visiting man rose to his feet to offer to God his heart felt appreciation of his and our Lord and Saviour. Among the wonderful things of the character of the Lord Jesus he recalled was the account of the two disciples of John the Baptist coming to Jesus having been sent by John to find out if the Lord Jesus was the Promised One or not. The Lord’s reply to them was this:

“Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see:
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear,
the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
Matthew 11: 4-6.

In the few moments in which the dear man was standing and offering his worship he went on to expound the wonderful things the Lord Jesus did and to undoubtedly prove in no uncertain terms that Jesus was and is indeed God manifest in the flesh. However I may be forgiven to have allowed my mind to wonder a little as mused upon two little words – Show John! ....

There was a bustle in the city; a ‘healing’ man had come to visit, Jesus was His name! They had brought their sick folks to Him for they had heard that He had the ability to heal them of their infirmities. And so He did, and He tended to the needs of the lame and leper, the blind and begging, and even the dead were raised to life and restored to their loved ones.

Last but by no means least; the poor folks had the Gospel preached unto them. Of course the poor folks knew that they had a need to hear the wonderful life giving message of the Gospel. Those who were better off perhaps felt a little more self sufficient and wouldn’t feel so keenly their need of God! As you may well imagine quite a crowd had gathered, and among them were the two men with a mission sent from John.

During a momentary pause in the action they stepped forward to ask that all important question:

“Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?”

Poor John had been incarcerated by King Herod and his evil mistress for pointing the accusing finger at them because of their immoral lifestyle. There he was languishing in a dark dungeon cell and understandably fear and gloom came upon him. Questions ran through his mind that made him fearful and uncertain about the purpose of his life.

He had been faithful and had carried out what he knew to be his service for his Lord. But what had gone wrong? John must have wondered if he had been terribly mistaken all the while as fear and despondency were now his companions.

Had he devoted his life to drawing the attention of the people to the wrong man believing He was the Promised One?

Tormenting memories and doubts wouldn’t allow him any rest. And so he sent his two faithful followers, probably the last of them to find out once for all what he needed to know. If he wasn’t mistaken then the knowledge of this would afford him rest and relief from his trouble mind, but if he had been wrong all the time then his misery would have been inconsolable I’m sure. Everything weighed in the balance!

There is a sweet tenderness in the Lord’s answer to these men. Have you noticed, He didn’t reprimand John for allowing his faith to weaken, neither was He angry by the fact that John doubted for a while. He, with understanding and with gentleness said:

“Go and show John ... the things which you have heard and seen”

... He knew John would be encouraged by the report they would take back to John because he would know that there was only One Person who could do such things. There would be no need for John to look any further; for Jesus was indeed the Promised One.

And so they left and went straight to their friend in prison to bring him word that would refresh his soul and dispel that awful gloom; for he would know for sure that his life’s work was not in vain.

"Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad."
Proverbs 12: 25

Perhaps you are feeling like John the Baptist!

You may have had a dynamic past of faithful service and activity, and now it is nothing more than a distant memory. Perhaps a decline in your health has caused you to be withdrawn from the front line. Possibly you are now retired! Maybe you are now a mother of small children who demand all of your time and energy. Perhaps and very sadly you could be one of those faithful servants who have been put away and silenced by the powers that be! Please allow me to share with you the encouraging news that:

God is still on the throne. He is still in control. And He is still working.