Read Luke 7:18-23 (ESV)
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Have you ever needed reassurance that what you believe about Jesus is true? Did you ever ask for it and if so, have you ever received it?
So far, we have seen John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus by saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry” (Matthew 3:11). According to John, the next day, Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized in the Jordan and when he saw Jesus coming, John declared: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me” (John 3:29-30). John had a front-row seat to the Spirit descending like a dove on Jesus. He heard the voice from heaven confirm, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
If there is anyone who should have been completely confident of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, it was John the Baptist. But then John ran afoul of King Herod and was imprisoned for calling Herod out for his unlawful and incestuous marriage to Herodias, who was his niece and who was already involved in an incestuous marriage to his own brother. In fact, Herod and Herodias would eventually have John the Baptist beheaded over this ordeal (Matthew 14:1-12)!
So it was in prison that John the Baptist sought some reassurance from Jesus. So he sent two of his followers to Jesus to ask him to confirm that he was the Messiah, the “one who is to come.”
But Jesus doesn’t come out and say, “Tell John that I’m the Messiah.” Instead, He showed them the truth of who He was. He gave them evidence. It says that in the next hour, Jesus performed many miracles. John’s disciples witnessed Him healing the sick, dispelling evil spirits, and restoring sight to the blind.
But again, Jesus doesn’t say, “See, I’m the Messiah.” Instead, He said to tell John what they had seen and heard. He knew that John would be able to draw His own conclusions about who Jesus was if he heard what Jesus was doing? Why? Because Jesus was fulfilling messianic prophecy.
About 700 years before Jesus, the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy…” (Isaiah 35:5-6a).
Isaiah also wrote: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” (Isaiah 61:1). In fact, Jesus read this very prophecy about Himself in a synagogue in Nazareth, His hometown, and He said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). But His own hometown rejected Him! Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” The ones who were offended by Jesus rejected Him, but the ones who humbly repented and embraced Him as the Messiah were blessed with salvation.
Jesus knew that John the Baptist would recognize His miracles as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies and John would have his answer. Jesus gave John the reassurance he needed. Friend, if you ever have moments of doubt, I encourage you to do what John did—take them straight to Jesus. He isn’t offended by your doubts. You aren’t in trouble for having questions. Be honest with God and ask Him to strengthen your faith. Ask the hard questions and go back to the Bible to find the answers. What you’ll find will be blessed reassurance!
God, thank You for the blessed reassurance that You are who You say You are. You have given us all of the evidence we need. When I have questions and doubts, lead me to the answers, Lord. Strengthen my faith. Amen.