How do you respond when your faith is questioned?

Floyd Rogers – Texas Gospel Volunteer, Christian writer

Matthew 11:1-6 NASB: When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. 2 Now while in prison, John heard about the works of Christ, and he sent word by his disciples, 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 those who are blind receive sight and those who limp walk, those with leprosy are cleansed and those who are deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is any person who does not take offense at Me.”  

Matthew 11:1-6 comes immediately after Jesus gave his apostles instructions as they headed out to preach to the lost sheep of the tribe of Israel.  In these verses, John is in prison and sends messengers to Jesus to ask if Jesus is the one, or if it is someone else. John is the one who baptized Jesus, but now that he is in prison for preaching the Gospel he asks if Jesus is the one!

We shouldn’t be surprised that John is in prison for preaching the Gospel. These verses follow Jesus telling his apostles they will be persecuted for delivering his message. An important lesson here is that hard times can make one question if his or her understanding of God’s word is correct. And even an Apostle of Jesus can lose faith.

Matthew told us in earlier verses  that Jesus’ disciples were in a boat with Jesus as a storm hit. Even though Jesus was in the boat with them, they lost faith until Jesus calmed the sea. Now we hear of John asking questions while he is in prison. Some say John lost faith and one could infer this from what Matthew wrote, and it would not be the first time an Apostle lost faith. But I think it’s more likely he’s questioning whether Jesus will be a military-political leader or if someone else is coming to rule on earth.  Could he be questioning his understanding of Messiah? I ask this because Matthew’s theme seems to be to convince Jewish people that Messiah will rule the Kingdom of Heaven.  He uses this phrase 32 times when other Gospel writers exclusively use the phrase Kingdom of God. I think he uses Kingdom of Heaven to drive home his point. 

My point in all this is it’s OK to ask God for faith when we have questions. It’s OK to ask God if we have it wrong. There’s no sense in being dishonest with God because he knows your thoughts whether you express them or not. The apostles in a boat, and John in prison began to have doubts.  But in both cases, they reached out to Jesus for answers rather than let any doubts they have fester. They were short sighted.  Jesus saw the whole picture which ended with his resurrection and salvation for anyone who accepts his call.

Shouldn’t our first response when doubt starts to creep in be to ask Jesus to strengthen our faith and to open our eyes to his will?

What are your thoughts?

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