Difficult Circumstances for John

“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3).

John the Baptist was a true saint and prophet of God, unreserved in His divine service. He had ministered precisely according to God’s will, but now he couldn’t help wondering why he was imprisoned and enduring other hardships.

He knew the Old Testament and maybe asked where the God of comfort (Ps. 119:50; Isa. 51:12) was at that time. Where was the promise that Messiah would “bind up the brokenhearted . . . proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” (Isa. 61:1)?

Paul was also imprisoned, likely in Rome, when he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4–7; cf. vv. 11–13, 19).

John knew where to find answers, even in the midst of doubt. That’s why he sent his disciples to Jesus to plead, “Lord, please help me!” And Christ was glad to respond, performing miracles for John’s sake and promising spiritual blessing if he remained steady.

Difficult circumstances can be stressful and painful, but our attitude and response should be like John’s—and Paul’s—trusting in the Lord to calm our doubts, anxieties, and fears (cf. James 1:2–12).

Ask Yourself
What causes some to be secure and steadfast no matter their circumstances, while others really struggle to keep their faith front and center? How are you preparing your heart to stay strong in the inevitable seasons of conflict to come?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.