“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Matthew 11:3
Locked in a dark, damp prison cell, after such hope had appeared before his eyes, John the Baptist was left to question the truth of what he had seen. Images of heaven’s glory shining down upon Jesus in the Jordan River were now replaced with the dark shadows that covered the prison walls. The surreal voice proclaiming, “This is my beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17), was now drowned out by voices of doubt whispering in John’s mind. Was Jesus really the one for whom he had prepared the way? Or could he have been mistaken?
Similar voices want to whisper words of doubt into our own minds as we journey with the Lord. As He leads us to places that we are not expecting, we frantically look around, proclaiming, “Certainly, this can’t be part of the plan!” Just as John must have created his own glorious visions of Jesus’ kingdom and the role he would play in it, we too enjoy creating our own visions of our roles in God’s unfolding plan. But when those visions are confronted with a differing reality, we retreat to our doubts, disregarding the overwhelming evidence of the amazing, miraculous things He has done in our lives.
God had blessed John the Baptist with amazing evidence that Jesus was His Son. When John first saw Jesus on the day of His baptism, he was so taken aback at the earthly presence of the Son of God that he proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He also witnessed God’s Spirit descending like a dove and remaining on Jesus, just as God had promised, and heard God’s voice from heaven calling Jesus his “beloved Son.”
But sometimes in our distress or confusion, we can focus only on the circumstances around us, and the evidence that was once so alive in our hearts and minds can slowly fade away. Our human minds try to defeat our spirit, prompting us to doubt the truth instead of cling to it. At times like these, we must call upon the Holy Spirit Himself to testify to the truth of God in our own spirit, to bear witness to the reality of Jesus. He will not fail to be God’s Advocate for truth even when everything else, including ourselves, fail. Through this great gift, our hope can resurge, and we ourselves can become witnesses for truth to the world around us.
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth…he will bear witness about me. John 15:26
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16