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This is a very interesting question.  Let’s begin by reading Matthew 3:13-17, “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  It is clear from this portion that John the Baptist definitely knew that the Lord Jesus was the promised Messiah.  Let’s compare that with John 1:29-36, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”  Without a doubt, John the Baptist knew who Christ was, announcing Him as the Lamb of God.

Now let’s read Luke 7:19, “And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?”  For a little more background information, let’s also read Matthew 11:2-3, “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”  Notice where John was when he asked this question.  He was in prison.  John had spoken against the evil that King Herod had done, and he was imprisoned for it.  Mark 6:17-18 tells us, “For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.”  Herod had desired to have his brother’s wife, so he just took her and married her himself.  John condemned Herod for his actions.  Eventually, John was beheaded.  Read Mark 6:21-29 for the account of John’s death.

John knew that Christ was the promised Messiah, and as such probably expected the Lord to take the throne of Israel and rule over His people, freeing them from the oppression of Rome.  When he was put into prison, he became discouraged.  He began to wonder if Jesus was truly the one he thought he was.  Does that sound familiar?  Have you ever gotten discouraged and doubted the Lord’s love or power?  In Mark 4:35-41, we have the story of the disciples getting caught up in a storm while in a ship.  While the storm ravaged, the Lord slept.  What perfect calmness in the midst of a great storm!  We read in Mark 4:38, “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”  Can you imagine that?  The disciples, because of the fierceness of the storm, began to doubt the Lord’s love.  “Carest thou not that we perish?”  Doubt creeps in so quickly at times.

Let’s go back and look at how the Lord responded when John doubted Him.  Matthew 11:4-6 says, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew 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.”  The Lord sought to dispel any doubts that John had by having those men tell John about what He was doing.  He had restored sight to blind people.  He caused lame men to walk.  He healed lepers.  He caused deaf people to hear.  He raised dead people to new life.  He was preaching the Gospel.  These words were meant to encourage John that Christ was indeed, the Messiah.  He promised blessings to those who were not offended, or stumbled, by the things Christ was doing.

How precious is our savior, that if we begin to doubt, he doesn’t cast us aside.  No, he works to take away our doubts.  The words of the Lord to Jairus in Luke 8:50 are words for us today.  The Lord said there, “…Fear not: only believe…”  (94.2)