Jason Helopoulos / Sep 8, 2019 / Matthew 11:1-19
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
In last Sunday’s sermon, Jason took us through John the Baptist’s doubts about Jesus’s messianic mission. From Matthew 11:1-19 we looked at a great question, a great comfort, a great error, and the great answer.
The great question that John’s disciples bring comes out of this context: The Kingdom has come. There have been many signs to testify to it. The disciples have seen it all and are now being sent out with the same message and with the warning that they too will meet opposition and persecution. John the Baptist is an example of this, and out of his experience, which is ours also, doubt rose up.
This should not surprise us. Doubt is mixed with faith. John was a great man of faith, the greatest born of woman, said Jesus, but suffering often conjures up doubt, and John was suffering. His expectations had been wrong. Jesus would not bring the judgment and wrath in the way that John and his disciples were hoping for, and so John’s faith became cloudy.
When we labor and want to see the Lord’s work succeed, but it does not, we may begin to see things as John did – this was not how it was supposed to be! – and to doubt. We may have faith, but we lack assurance. We lack the unwavering confidence in God and in what he has done in and for us. But assurance and faith are not the same thing, and that should encourage us. The faith we all begin with is small, but it saves. We’re saved by faith, not by assurance, though it is surely one of God’s gifts that we should seek hard after.
A Great comfort. We see also in this passage that Jesus meets his wavering people and he keeps them. John turned to Jesus in his doubt, and Jesus met him there and comforted him. We too should turn to Jesus in our doubt. In his word, in prayer, and in the people of God gathered together, Jesus meets with us and keeps us. He provides comfort. He doesn’t rebuke but reminds us (as he did John the Baptist) of all that he’s done.
A Great error. But Jesus doesn’t comfort all doubters. Skeptics and cynics don’t get his comfort, but his scorn. He compares them to children looking for any chance to be contrary. They object for the sake of objecting, and no answer will satisfy them. They prefer throwing out red herrings to truly hearing and understanding. They refuse to see that Jesus Christ is the only question that anyone needs to answer.
The Great Answer. In verses 7 and 8, Jesus asks the crowds what they came out to see, not who, and in verses 9 and 10 he answers his own question: they came out to see a prophet, and more than a prophet. John would be the one to usher in the messiah, the promised one. John the Baptist was the greatest man and the most import of the prophets not because of who he was but because of whom he pointed to – Jesus Christ.
Doubts will come and your assurance may waver, but the question to answer is what will you do with Christ? If he is the object of our faith then your faith will save you. It is accepted by God because Christ is worthy.