Daily Devotional Matthew 11:1–30
In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, two friends, Christian and Hopeful, deviate from the True Way to explore By-Path Meadow because it looks like an easier route. They think it will lead them to the same destination, but they lose their way and spend a night at Doubting Castle owned by the Giant called Despair.
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed . . . and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Doubt is a common experience in the Christian life. It can be caused by many things—convincing arguments, scornful comments, painful experiences. As with Christian and Hopeful, doubt can be a result of getting distracted and losing our way.
In Matthew 11:3, John the Baptist expressed his doubt regarding Jesus’ identity, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” John’s question may surprise us. After all, John was Jesus’ cousin, His chosen forerunner, His prophet in the wilderness. But when John spoke truth to Herod Antipas and condemned his marriage to Herodias, Herod imprisoned him (see Mark 6:14–29). During his imprisonment, John was unable to observe Jesus directly, and that lack of firsthand evidence seems to have planted a seed of doubt. Thankfully, instead of withdrawing into confusion and depression, he took his questions to Jesus. He sent one of his disciples to ask Jesus: “Are you the one?” (v. 3).
Jesus responded gently and offered His miracles as proof that He was the Messiah. Then Jesus vouched for John before the crowd and condemned the people’s unbelief. Those who had seen Him firsthand, and yet rejected Him, were condemned (vv. 20 24). There are two ways to respond when we struggle with doubt. We might be tempted to look for problems and reasons to abandon the faith. But when we love God, we seek the truth and reasons to trust.
Have you ever struggled with doubt? How did it resolve? How would you counsel someone who has doubts about Christianity?
Pray with Us:
We confess, Jesus, that difficulties or despair may sow seeds of doubt about Your love. As You encouraged John the Baptist, show us as well how to seek You and Your truth in all situations.