The Joshua Stone
A Defense of John the Baptist
I hear a lot of people say that John the Baptist doubted Jesus was the Messiah, and with this article I want to point out how ridiculous that really is.
His words in question:
Mth 11:3 "But John, having heard in jail about the works of the Christ, sent his disciples to ask him: “Are you the Coming One, or are we to expect a different one?"
Here John asks if Jesus is "the one to come". Many believe John was asking if Jesus was the Messiah however, is this so?
Let's look at some of the comments John made about him.
Jhn 1:28-30 "These things took place in Bethʹa·ny across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said: “See, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said: ‘Behind me there comes a man who has advanced in front of me, for he existed before me."
Jhn 1:33 "Whoever it is upon whom you see the spirit coming down and remaining, this is the one who baptizes in holy spirit.’ And I have seen it, and I have given witness that this one is the Son of God.”
Jhn 1:35 "Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he looked at Jesus walking, he said: “See, the Lamb of God!"
John knew who Jesus was, he knew he was the Messiah, the one to take away sin from the world.
Jhn 1:15 "John bore witness about him, yes, he cried out: “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming behind me has advanced in front of me, for he existed before me."
While John was imprisoned, his disciples were even bringing him word on all the activities of our Lords work.
Luk 1:18 "Now John’s disciples reported to him all these things."
So why would John ask if Jesus was "the one coming"? He knew our Lord would understand exactly what he was thinking. Without having to word his question in an exact manner, our Lord would have been able to see and understand him from a distance.
Jhn 1:48-51 "Na·thanʹa·el said to him: “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him: “Before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Na·thanʹa·el responded: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are King of Israel.” Jesus answered him: “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see things greater than these.” He then said to him: “Most truly I say to you men, you will see heaven opened up and the angels of God ascending and descending to the Son of man.”
So what was John asking when he sent his disciples to enquirer if Jesus was the coming one? Our Lords response gives us Johns true intent.
Mth 11:4,5 "In reply Jesus said to them: “Go and report to John what you are hearing and seeing: The blind are now seeing and the lame are walking, the lepers are being cleansed and the deaf are hearing, the dead are being raised up and the poor are being told the good news."
Our Lords response gives us the answer to why John had posed the question, John was asking about events to come, about what was to occur. John was curious if our Lord was to restore Israel at that time, or if someone else was to come in order to accomplish that work. In fact Luke tells us that after these disciples of John had posed the question to Jesus, in that hour he did many works, which was exactly the reports he had already been given by his own disciples, and information he already knew. Therefore Jesus was telling John not to expect anything more then what has been already reported to him. Therefore Jesus was saying he was not restoring Israel at that time.
Luk 7:20 "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the Coming One, or are we to expect another?’” In that hour he cured many people of sicknesses, serious diseases, and wicked spirits, and he granted many blind people the gift of sight."
After our Lord had finish these works of many miracles "in that hour", he responded to the messengers of John, by directing them to take a message back to him.
Luke 7:22 "In reply he said to them: “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind are now seeing, the lame are walking, the lepers are being cleansed, the deaf are hearing, the dead are being raised up, and the poor are being told the good news."
This question of whether our Lord was to restore Israel at that time was not an uncommon question, for our Lords own disciples had posed that very same question.
Act 1:6 "So when they had assembled, they asked him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
Our Lord made it clear it did not belong to them to know the "times and seasons", meaning the Jewish holidays yet to be fulfilled that correspond to the restoring of the kingdom to Israel, the fall feasts.
It should also be noted that there is no way John's response would have been doubts about our Lord, for Jesus' recognition of him, showed his great faith.
Mth 11:11 "Truly I say to you, among those born of women, there has not been raised up anyone greater than John the Baptist,"
In defense of John the Baptist.