I’m encouraged when I read about the prison days of John the Baptist. John’s entire life and purpose were focused on recognizing, identifying, and preaching Jesus as the Messiah. Yes, in his darkest days of prison, John even doubted. In God’s amazing grace, he’s patient and gives us direction even if we disappoint him and ourselves.
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him.”Luke 1:41
Born For It
John was born to recognize and prepare the way for Jesus. His ability to recognize the Messiah began in utero. He lept within Elizabeth’s womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, said hello. When John stepped into his ministry, he boldly preached the most unpopular and hated message of repentance, undeterred. He called the religious leaders out on their hypocrisy. Every risk he took was in an effort to prepare the way for Jesus.
” Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan [River], to be baptized by him.”Matthew 3:13
In The Water
Then Jesus stepped onto the banks of the Jordan, a moment for which John the Baptist would become famous. Again, John was surrounded by water but not in utero. This time it was in the river Jordan, as he baptized new converts. John saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus and God say that Jesus was his son and he is very pleased. But there came his dark day as it comes for us all when our faith is put to the test and we fail. Even the strong and bold John the Baptist began to doubt his Jesus and all those things for which he sacrificed.
Now when [a]John [the Baptist] in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and asked Him, “Are You the Expected One (the Messiah), or should we look for someone else [who will be the promised One]?”Matthew 11:2-3
Strong And Weak
When John had an identity crisis in prison, Jesus didn’t condemn him. He didn’t give words of condemnation or correction, but instructed disciples to share with John the miracles they saw that day. Today, Jesus meets us where we are not where he wishes he would be. In Christ, we have the grace to see our doubts and trials as elements to strengthen our faith. In our weakness, God is strong.
but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.2 Corinthians 12:9
I included “The Fruitful Tree” as a reminder for us to be patient with where were are. Like with the tree, God wants us to continue to grow and find enrichment in him and his word and the environment in which he places us. When we do this, God will work it all to his glory without us having to worry.