“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV).
John the Baptist was one of the few people in the Bible whose purposes, missions or callings in life were clearly revealed and declared before they were born. John was born to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit Zechariah (the father of John) prophesied concerning him, saying:
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (NKJV).
As John grew up, he devoted himself completely to his purpose and calling in life. He lived in the wilderness, feeding on locusts and wild honey, until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
John was rightly referred to as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'” (Mark 1:3 NKJV).
John went into the entire region around Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins to all the people. Multitudes came out to be baptized by John and he boldly and bluntly charged them to bear fruits worthy of repentance.
7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. (NKJV).
According to his purpose in life, John baptized Jesus in Jordan, and he unmistakably identified, pointed out, and proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, the Saviour, and the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.
Besides, John also clearly and publicly testified that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
30 “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’
31 “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
33 “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
34 “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (NKJV).
The Lord Jesus rightly described John the Baptist as “the burning and shining lamp” of his generation. The Lord also testified that John was the greatest of all the prophets under the Old Covenant (Luke 7:28).
But strangely, towards the end of John’s life and ministry he began to doubt whether Jesus was indeed the true Messiah that the nation of Israel had been waiting for.
While John was in prison awaiting his execution because he had boldly reproved Herod Antipas for unlawfully taking Herodias, his brother’s wife, John sent two of his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:20 NKJV).
What a strange question!
What an expression of doubt and unbelief!
Apparently, John’s question proceeded from a doubtful or wavering heart. John’s question suggested that he was no longer very sure or confident that Jesus was indeed the true and the promised Messiah, the Son of God.
This was the same John who had earlier loudly, clearly and publicly pointed out Jesus among the crowd and proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God, the Messiah, and the Son of God.
It is wisdom for us today to find out why John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb, and was said to be the greatest among the prophets of old could begin to doubt the identity, divinity, or ministry of Jesus who he had earlier proclaimed as the Son of God, baptized in Jordan and saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining upon Him.
The conviction or confidence of John the Baptist about Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, began to wane and waver when Jesus didn’t use His supernatural power as John had expected.
The lifestyle and ministry of Jesus was entirely different from the popular Jewish expectation of the Messiah. John, like other Jews, expected Jesus as the Christ to proclaim Himself as the King of the Jews and lead them in revolt against the Romans authority, and eventually declare Israel as an independent state.
But after spending about a year in the prison, John began to reason that if Jesus was truly the Christ, how come he had not overthrown Herod and released him from the prison.
John’s greatest shock and disappointment came when Jesus publicly declared that His Kingdom was not of this world and even encouraged paying taxes to Caesar (John 18:36, Matt. 22:21).
Rather than encouraging or leading the Jews in a military or political revolt against the Romans government, the Lord Jesus encouraged submission to the Roman authority.
Hearing and seeing that Jesus was not living up to their selfish expectations of the promised Messiah, John began to doubt his earlier God-given convictions and confirmations about Jesus being the true and promised Messiah.
Like John the Baptist, when it appears that God is not meeting or fulfilling our expectations at our set time and manner, or it seems that God is not using His power to do what we expect Him to do, in the way we expect Him to do it, and at the time we expect Him to do it; there is tendency for us to begin to cast away our confidence in the Person, Nature or Character of God.
The Jewish nation as a whole refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah and King at His first coming because He didn’t use His supernatural power to gratify their selfish desires and meet their wrong expectations.
Similarly, many people today are rejecting Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord because the Lord would not use His power to satisfy or gratify their selfish desires or lusts.
God does not exist for our pleasures, to attend to our whims and caprices, or to gratify our lusts or selfish desires. Rather, we are created for God’s pleasure. It is therefore expected of us to yield or present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice for His pleasure (Rev. 4:11, Rom. 12:1).
Paul clearly states, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36 NKJV).
Friend, like John the Baptist, have you begun to doubt God’s love, faithfulness, and promises because it seems God is not coming through for you, or showing forth His power in your situation according to your timing and desire or expectation?
The Scripture encourages you not to cast away your confidence in God’s love, faithfulness and promises.
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. (NKJV).
Although at His first coming into the world, the Lord Jesus did not overthrow the Romans kingdom and establish His physical Kingdom on earth according to the timing and expectation of John the Baptist and the Jewish nation, yet at His second return, the Lord Jesus will put an end to all rule, all authority and all power and set up His physical everlasting Kingdom on earth (1 Cor. 15:24).
Then, it will be declared that “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15 NKJV).
Beloved, don’t ever cast away your trust or confidence in God’s love for you and God’s faithfulness to keep every promise that He has given you.
Regardless of any crisis or trial you may face in life, hold firmly to your confession of hope and trust in God’s love, faithfulness and promises to the very end.
The Scripture assures, “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.” (Heb. 10:37 NKJV).
Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I believe and confess today that You are ever loving to me and ever faithful to all Your promises. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to hold fast the confession of my faith without wavering until the very end, in Jesus’ name. Amen.