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Are You The Christ?


Luke 7:18-20
18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things.
19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’”

Are You the Christ, or do we look for another? This question was asked by the prophet who prepared the way of the Lord. He was also the one who baptized Jesus with water, and declared Him to be the Messiah then and there.

Why did this prophet doubt? We must always remember that John was human, just like all the other prophets before him.

All men of God had their moments of doubt. Moses had to be reassured again and again before he finally went back to Egypt and delivered the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 4:1-17). Gideon asked for the sign of the fleece twice before he eventually led the people of God into victory (Judges 6:36-40). Elijah said it was enough and asked God to take away his life after Jezebel gave the warrant to kill him (I Kings 19:1-10). Jeremiah cursed the day he was born (Jeremiah 20:14-18).

It is okay to doubt God but it is not okay to remain in doubt. Doubt can become an opportunity of faith for one truly seeks God while he learns, prays, groans in pains, and grows in trust in the Lord.

Though we believe God, there will always be some periods in life where we have some struggles and doubts. In those precious moments, we need to pray, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

John the Baptist is one of the greatest men in the Bible.

Luke 7:28
For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Why was John greater than the others?

As foretold in the Old Testament, before the Messiah came, a prophet would prepare the way of His coming.

Isaiah 40:3-5
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;

Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

According to Matthew 3 and Luke 3, this prophet was John the Baptist. Jesus Himself compared John to the prophet Elijah.

Matthew 17:11-13
11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.
12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.”
13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Thus among those born of women, there was not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. He was the one who would herald the coming of the Messiah - one of the most difficult and awesome tasks ever entrusted to a man.

And John obeyed and did accordingly to what he was called to do. Multitudes came into the wilderness to hear him preach. His messages were not for itching ears to hear. Like Jeremiah the prophet, John preached passionately about confession and repentance of sins. And many were baptized in water by him.

As John was preaching one day, Jesus came.

John 1:29-34
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’
31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

John had seen and testified that Jesus was the Christ. He also knew who he was - the one to prepare the way of the Lord. And John carried out this task faithfully. Even Jesus was baptized by him.

As Jesus began His ministry, John’s ministry began to diminish. Some of John's disciples left him and began to follow Jesus. The multitudes also started following Jesus. As a result, John became less prominent. When people asked John about this matter, what was his response?

John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.

Jesus must become greater but John must become lesser. In fact, not much later, John was imprisoned by King Herod because he openly rebuked the king for marrying his sister-in-law, Herodias. Herod even forced his brother Philip to divorce her so he could marry her.

Matthew 14:4
Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

The unrepentant king did not like John for telling him that he was unlawful. Thus he arrested John and put him in prison. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, John was imprisoned in the palace-fortress of Herod the Great in Machaerus on the east side of the Dead Sea. Hovering high on a desolate and isolated ridge in a desert, John began to feel forsaken and forgotten.

He stood up for what was right, and did what God had called him to do. Now he lost everything. No job, no ministry, no future and no hope. Imprisoned and not knowing about his tomorrows.

Luke 7:18-19
18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things.
19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

While in his prison chains, John began to hear reports about Jesus. Those reports did not match up his personal expectations of the Christ! What Jesus Christ did was not exactly what he thought the Messiah should do. John then became disappointed and discouraged.

John then sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus this question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

The identity of the Messiah was hard to ascertain and determine when true faith was tested in dark dungeons and prison cells. Some things Jesus did were okay and alright - the sermons, the healings and the miracles. But some things Jesus did were plainly wrong in John's own perception and understanding - eating and feasting with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes. That was definitely not what the true Messiah should do.

Mark 13:12
Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

The messages about brothers against brothers and fathers against their children also didn’t sound right either. The Messiah was supposed to bring peace, love and unity.

The exhortations to pay taxes to Caesar and to bless those who persecute the people of God also didn't match up. The Messiah was supposed to set up a kingdom of righteousness and peace by delivering them from the Roman rule, and bringing Israel into an era of freedom, rest and peace in God. Where was the kingdom of God? Where were His armies? Nothing seemed to be happening! Jesus, are You the One?

John began to wonder and wander in his mind. The Messiah must set up His kingdom by destroying the enemies of Israel. That was what John was praying and hoping for. But it was not happening. In fact, the opposite had happened.

All of the hopes and aspirations of John were crushed. His faith was questioned. His own identity was also in crisis. If Jesus was not the Christ, then John was not the forerunner. If Jesus was not the Christ, why did he have to suffer so much and be in prison? Doubt began to grow as those questions remained unanswered.

When in doubt, John did something marvelous. He reached out to Jesus for the answers. He didn't ask for the opinions and feedbacks of others about who Jesus was! He didn't seek any advice or proposal from any man. He must hear the answer from Christ and Christ alone!

Jesus responded to John in love. He didn't rebuke John. He didn’t reject John. He didn’t reprimand John. Instead, Jesus lovingly showed John again who He really was. The Messiah.

Luke 7:21-23
21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

That very hour in the presence of the two disciples of John, Jesus healed many people from their sicknesses, diseases, and evil spirits, and gave sight to many blind people.

He said to John's disciples, “Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean, the deaf can hear, the dead are raised to life, and the gospel is preached to the poor. How blessed are those who have no doubts about Me!”

What Jesus did that very hour was more than enough to answer all of John’s questions. The messengers also became the message themselves! The disciples of John were excited, and went back to tell John of what they had seen and heard. They knew the Messiah themselves. They saw Him in person and in action!

There was another person who also knew that Jesus was the Christ! Simon Peter.

Matthew 16:13-28
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Like John the Baptist, Simon Peter knew by divine revelation that Jesus was the Christ. Jesus praised Peter for that. However, he did not know what the will of the Father was when Jesus began to share about His sufferings, death and resurrection. Jesus had to rebuke Peter because he didn't know what the Messiah had to do.

Knowing the Christ is one thing but doing what He asks us to do is another. When things and circumstances in life do not meet our expectations, will we doubt that Jesus is truly the Christ? Like John the Baptist, we must turn to Jesus Christ and seek Him for the answers.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Likewise, Jesus is the Christ yesterday, today, and forever. Let us come after Him, deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and follow Him.

A lot of people involved in the forerunner ministries have been preparing the way of the Lord for many years. Like John the Baptist, some are in their own dark dungeons and prison cells. Some are questioning their callings, their ministries, their own faith and even God.

It is time to return to God, turning our eyes again back to Jesus. Carrying all our burdens, sins and griefs to God in prayer, and asking Him those questions we have in our hearts.

Hopefully, like Paul the apostle, we will proclaim and declare:

Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

John the Baptist finally got his answer to his question. When he was eventually beheaded by Herod, he knew everything he did for the Lord was worth it all. Without a doubt, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.


Written on: 7 September 2017