Andy Hollifield 4-26-18
Matthew 11:4-5 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: (5) 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.
Luke 7:20-22 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? (21) And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. (22) Then Jesus answering said unto them, 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.
Two accounts of the same event by two different men and very little difference in the two. Luke said that Jesus told John’s disciples to go “tell” him what things were done. Matthew said that Jesus said Go “shew” what things were done. Contradictory? Not hardly! The first definition of the word “tell” means to give an account or narrative of; narrate; relate a story, tale, etc. The word “show” means to make known to; inform, instruct, or prove to. John’s disciples returned and informed him of all that they had seen firsthand. But the word I really want to focus on is “again.”
These things that the disciples told John weren’t anything new to him. He had seen them before from Jesus and I am sure he had heard about a lot more. John had previously been locked up in prison by Herod because he had reproved him not only because he had taken his brother’s wife Herodias, but also for all the other evils that he had done. What brought about this mission by John’s disciples was an event they had told John when they visited him in prison. They related the story of how when Jesus was entering into the city of Nain he passed a funeral procession. When Jesus saw the mother of the man who had died, he had compassion on her and told her to “Weep not.” This man was the only son of his mother and she was a widow. As the pallbearers stood still, Jesus came and touched the frame that the dead man was laid on to be carried out for burial. He then said to the man; “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” The dead man sat up and began to speak and he was let down and taken to his mother. At that point great fear came upon everyone and they glorified God believing that a great prophet was among them.
John was a cousin of Jesus and had been ordained of God to be the forerunner of Christ. In my opinion, John was likely at a low point in his life to even have his disciples go and ask Jesus such a question. I don’t know how long he had been in prison but as great of a man as he was, it is understandable how that he would have possibly been discouraged. If you stop and think about it, he had been imprisoned for preaching the truth. He didn’t at that point even know his fate. I, for one, have gotten bad discouraged over a lot less. We know how the story of John ended. The daughter of Herodias danced in front of Herod on his birthday. This was apparently his niece which in itself says something about the character of Herod having her dancing for him. He was pleased with her dancing and made a promise that she could have anything she wanted. Her mother had already instructed her to ask for John’s head in a charger. Although Herod regretted making the promise, he still followed through with it and had John beheaded in prison.
I realize that most of us probably know this story inside and out. But I want to emphasize the fact that if a man as spiritual and Godly as John can hit rough circumstances to the point of questioning whether Jesus is who he said he is, anyone can. John was a man who, before he was even born, leaped in his mother’s womb at 6 months, when he first heard the voice of Mary speaking to his mother when she arrived at their home. He most definitely knew who Jesus was. John had even recently baptized Jesus. He saw the Holy Ghost descend on him in the form of a dove. He heard the voice from heaven. But yet unknown to him, he was nearing the end of his life. Upon hearing about the miracle of Jesus raising the dead man, he wanted to make sure that Jesus was the Messiah. I am sure that he was wanting to make sure his life hadn’t been wasted.
We have all hit the times in our lives when we have questioned whether it was even worth it trying to walk with the Lord. The times when we have been hurt and just thought that it would be a lot easier if we just stayed home and worshipped the Lord. The times when someone said something discouraging or spiteful. Maybe not even those things. Maybe it was when there was sickness in our family and we didn’t understand why because we were trying with everything in us to walk pleasing to the Lord. The times when we go and go and we’re give out and have to go some more. Maybe the roof is leaking or the washer or dryer tears up or the furnace or air conditioner stops working. It sometimes doesn’t even take those things to discourage us. Sometimes we get to looking around at the lack of faithfulness of people to the Lord. It is easy to get discouraged looking at other people. It isn’t just preachers that get discouraged. Anyone that has been born again and trying to walk with God is subject to it. If you look at several of the great men in the bible, you will find that right after God used them greatly, fear and discouragement overwhelmed them for whatever reason. Elijah is one example who, after calling fire out of heaven wound up hiding in a cave. There is also Jonah who preached one time and had over 120,000 to repent and got bitter about it.
God knows we are only human and those times will come. Getting down is something that happens to all of us. Staying down is a choice that we make. If we will just be honest with ourselves and with the Lord, he will lift us up. Sometimes we need to just ask him; “Remind me again.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!