FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY
Q: What is Five Minute Friday?
A: It is a 5min free write blog event hosted by Kate Motaung. Every Thursday Kate announces a one-word prompt on her blog at 10pm EST. The link-up is open for a full week, until the following Thursday evening. For further details on how to participate visit her blog at: Heading Home.
Five Minute Friday Prompt: SHOULD
John the Baptist languishes in prison.
He sends some of his followers to Jesus with a question. Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?
Why did John the Baptist ask this question? After all he had baptised Jesus. He had witnessed the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove hovering over his cousin. He had heard the voice of God saying: this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. He had even testified that this same Jesus would baptise with fire and that he (John) was unworthy of even loosening the latch on Christ’s shoes.
So what happened?
Adversity happened. Disappointment and disillusionment happened.
John was of the impression that this Jesus, the one whom he’d faithfully served, testified about and prepared the way of his coming, the one whom he’d confirmed was the Son of God, should have been doing something about his situation. He felt Jesus should have been making moves to rescue him from prison.
[End of 5mins]
After all Jesus must have heard about what had happened to him. After all, this is why Jesus had come to the earth wasn’t it? To deliver the captives. To set them free. So why hasn’t he? Why didn’t he muster his power and spirit him away, out of jail? Or why didn’t he come before Herod, overwhelm him with shame and conviction regarding his sin, use his powers of persuasion and demand his release? Why? Did he not love him? Did he not care?
And so as he sits in the darkness of his dungeon, John begins to entertain doubts. John listens to the taunts and lies of the Enemy. John begins to hold a pity-party. And as a result, he sends his followers off to ask a question, which barely veils an accusation.
Should we look for another Messiah? Should we look for another Saviour? Should we look for another Deliverer?
The question implies that Jesus had been weighed in the balance of John’s expectations and found wanting. The question implies that if Jesus is who he says he is, if Jesus is who John had believed him to be, then here was an opportunity to demonstrate his authority and power, here was an opportunity to show his compassion and mercy. So why hadn’t he?
And isn’t that how we are, as children of God, as followers of Christ? Full of faith, solid in conviction—until adversity strikes! Then come the doubts, the questions, the crisis of faith. We sit within the prison of our circumstances, within the confinement of our fears and wonder why God doesn’t rescue us, why Jesus doesn’t zap the situation with his power and make the injustice, the intolerable pain, the ugliness go away.
How did Jesus answer?
“Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them…” (Matthew 11:4-5)
John’s direct question was answered. Jesus provides incontrovertible evidence that he is the one, the expected Messiah. However, Jesus also answered John’s indirect query or accusation. His response delivers a sting in the tail. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me! (exclamation mine).
What can you and I learn from this?
- Don’t doubt in the darkness of trial, what you once believed in the light of revelation truth and experience
- Our relationship with God does not preclude us from injustice or tribulation and Christ does not answer to our every beck and call.
- We should not allow offence to develop in our heart when our expectations of God are disappointed.
In the face of bewilderment, discouragement or fear, how should we behave? With confidence that God is with us, despite what the devil implies, or our circumstances suggest!
We are told:
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
And so we have a choice – trust and believe, or question and accuse.
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