Mark 1:4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
What I find interesting here is how bold John announces Jesus’ coming. There is great certainty in his words, no equivocation or doubt. John is saying, “Jesus is the Messiah we’ve been waiting for!” At this time Jesus was essentially unknown but John was already a prophetic “rock star” – with a following of hundreds if not thousands. What we read here is John vouching for Jesus, staking his own reputation on the ministry Jesus hadn’t yet begun.
John the Baptist is ALL IN on Jesus!
But then look at what John does after he’s put in prison a few years later (a prison he will not leave alive), “When John heard in prison what the Messiah (Jesus) was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3)
WHAT?! Is John doubting Jesus is the Messiah? Yes he is. Why? Because, though Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah, he was very different than what John expected. He hung out with the wrong kinds of people. He broke the “rules”. He wasn’t a “king” in the traditional sense of the word. And he would eventually die hanging on a cross. AND YET – the blessing God the Father brought through Jesus far exceeded anyone’s expectations.
Dear God, help us to trust you when disappointment has us doubting ourselves and even you. Amen.