Weekly Scriptures | Sermon Notes

2023-02-10 | Matthew 11 | Pillows of DoubtHow long have you identified yourself as a believer, a child of God, a Christian? One month? One Year? Five years? Or, five minutes? I don’t know that it really matters, because regardless of how long, undoubtedly you have had doubts. Someone or something, people or circumstances, has challenged your belief system—rattled your faith.

In Scripture, we see the very same doubts that show up in our own lives working even in the lives of the most steadfast of Bible characters. These doubts are often fueled by gossip or someone’s personal opinion. What a shame it is to be influenced by another’s wrong assessments, false reports or any form of gossip, when likely they gained their information from mostly erroneous assumptions, baseless allegations, and downtrodden misrepresentations. Taking cues from someone living in a world of unmet expectations, a person carrying their own bag of doubts is unwise. And you can be sure they feel they are accurately portraying truth and reporting facts when in reality they are just passing on bad information.

Today we witness the solid and steadfast John the Baptist, very likely acting on information that fluffed up pillows of doubt, causing him to question the very thing he had been preaching. The prophet sent by Yahweh to make the crooked paths straight—raised up to prepare the way for the King of kings and Lord of lords, had himself become rattled.

We often read today’s passage and what immediately catches our attention is that John has sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He is really the One, or should he look for another. Yes, John, the same John who proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” was now asking, “Are you really the Lamb of God?” Bizarre, right? Yet, it happens all too often. If we assess John’s question, we might come to a few different conclusions. One is that John was changing course on Jesus altogether; He’s not the coming Messiah. Another could be that he was just having some “doubts” based on frustration, or impatience, or discomfort. He was, after all, locked up in a nasty prison. It is also possible that he had hopes, as most Jews at the time, that the Messiah would be a powerful military figure, arriving to free Israel from their oppressive captors. Or, maybe he was simply afraid that his days were numbered, and he was just confirming that his certain death was for the right reason.

Setting aside the need to know exactly why, we must still conclude John doubted Jesus. It is also very likely he didn’t get there on his own. He certainly had plenty of help from his own disciples who had their own erroneous conclusions that the coming Messiah would be a “warrior and reigning king.” Their unmet expectations and wrong assumptions caused them to pass on bad information, casting pillows of doubt over John, not the best type on which to lay his imprisoned head, one soon to be separated from his shoulders.

Sadly enough, John did not get to see the fruits of his own ministry. And by and large, that too forms the bedrock of our very own pillows of doubt. Not tasting the fruit of your labor, or seeing an immediate return on your investment into the Kingdom of God, can be very destabilizing to your faith. Does this happen to you? Are you resting your head on such pillows—pillows of doubt? And worse yet, are those doubts being fueled by the baggage and bad information from fellow believers?

Today’s section of scripture is packed with personal and prophetic subject matter. Jesus, as always, is so masterful at bringing His disciples to the place where they recognize the correct answer to the one question He asks that matters most to every human; “Who do YOU say that I am?”