After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him. “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Here John was in prison because he had publicly rebuked Herod for marrying his sister-in-law. When John heard what was going on and that Jesus was healing and raising the dead, he started having doubts as to whether Jesus really was the Messiah. John had been preparing the way for the Messiah, yet here he sat in prison, and if Jesus was the Messiah why was he in prison? Couldn’t Jesus free him? After all, John could have been using that time to preach.
It is a valid response to his predicament. He had faithfully been going about preaching repentance, baptizing, and shouting about the coming Messiah. Yet, here he was, in prison and Jesus did not seem to care. But Jesus answered John’s question by telling him about the evidence of who He was. He was healing the sick, raising the dead, people could walk again, the good news was being taught to those in need. Miracles were happening and they spoke of who He was, they confirmed His identity.
We too tend to doubt who God is when things are not going our way. When life hands us more lemons than lemonade we question God, who are you and why won’t you change this, and help me. And we find our answer in verse 6 of this passage: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” What does it mean? The evidence is there, God is who He says He is, and He is able to do anything, but all too often He says to wait, not now. Our prayers are being answered in God’s time.
I will repeat it, even when He does not act quickly, we need to stay the course, to continue to walk with the Lord regardless of our circumstances, regardless of whether or not we see prayers being answered, especially the way we think they should be answered. We need to trust God, even if He does not work it out immediately, we need to stay the course because God is with us. We already know from Jeremiah 33:3, and 1 Peter 3:12 that God hears our prayers, and He always answers. We also know from verses like Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Isaiah 41:10, and many more that He is always with us, He never leaves us or forsakes us.
We are blessed, happy and so much more when we continue to believe even when our eyes cannot see the answer and God seems silent. We need to remember that our faith should be in Christ Jesus, not in the “what can He do for me.” If we have been forgiven for our sins and born again, and we are now sons and daughters of the Most-High God, then we have all we need and we can trust him to work in our lives and hear and answer our prayers. God is faithful, He does and will answer in His timing, not ours, and usually, He does not answer the way we think that He should. His wisdom is so far above our earthly human wisdom that we cannot see exactly what we need or how, we just know that we want relief and help.
John wanted out of prison…he was faithfully fulfilling his God-given mission. But that did not mean he was exempt from trials and tribulations. He had to do what we need to do and that was to refocus his attention not on what he could get, more stuff, comfortable, out of prison, but on who Jesus is and our relationship and walk with him. I believe that when we continue on in the face of hardship and we lean in close to Jesus, He transforms our thoughts and our desires to come in line with His own. We start wanting more of him and less of this world and all that it offers. Jesus wanted John to see that He was who he said He was and the miracles taking place were evidence of it, but that He was not a “Jennie in a bottle.” You cannot just demand it to be done and expect it to immediately happen. Yes, could it, absolutely, we see times in scripture when healing was instantaneous, and death was immediate because people did not obey God. God can act right at the moment of your prayer.
I do not know about you, but I have been so happy at times when God did not answer immediately in the heat of the moment, the answer was so much sweeter and obviously better than I could have asked to begin with, and often as I study God’s word and pray I can see that I really did not need whatever it was I was asking for. God works all things out according to His will, in His time, for our good and His glory. If you have prayed, He has heard and the answer is on its way. Do not look for it with human eyes, look with spiritual eyes. Rest in Him, let him grow you, and teach you through the process and greater the reward and blessing when you do! When we wait on God and allow him to do it “His way” we are getting the very “best way ever!” After all He is going to do it His way regardless of what we need or want, why not find peace, joy, and contentment while we wait?
I do not have God’s wisdom, I do not see the entire picture, but God does…I ask from my perspective, but the one who knit me together and holds all things together really does know the when, the why, the how, and it really is better : )