“Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” (Matthew 11:2-3)
Jesus began His public ministry on earth when He was about thirty years old, getting started when He came to the John the Baptist to be baptized in the Jordan River. John recognized Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and after Jesus was baptized, a voice from Heaven proclaimed to all who could hear that He was God’s own beloved Son. John the Baptist was one of the first people to attest to Jesus’ true nature as the promised Savior of the world.
But not even he was immune to doubts. Following his rebuking of Herod, the king of Judea, for marrying his own brother’s wife, John was thrown into prison. While there, he began to wonder about Jesus. Had He really been the Messiah—the Christ? What if John had gotten that wrong? At last, he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus that very question.
Jesus, hearing John’s doubts, performed several miracles in front of John’s disciples. “‘Go and tell John what you hear and see,’” He told them. “‘The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them’” (Matthew 11:4-5). He gave John’s disciples ample proof that He was indeed the Christ.
Note what Jesus didn’t do, though. First, He didn’t straight out say that He was the Christ. Instead, He demonstrated His power and told John’s disciples to tell their leader what they had seen. He was giving John the opportunity to decide for himself if Jesus’ claim to be the Christ was valid. Second, He didn’t shame John for his doubts. It would have been easy to be disappointed in John; after all, he had been there from the beginning and had heard God’s voice proclaiming Jesus to be His own Son. But Jesus didn’t have a single word of rebuke for John. Instead, He took the time to answer his questions with indisputable proof. John’s doubts didn’t worry Him. Rather, He used this an opportunity to strengthen John’s wavering faith.