Borrowing the Eyes of Others
After years of all-out commitment and outspokenness, John the Baptist hits a wall of doubt toward the end of his life. In spite of his massive credentials----his birth was foretold by an angel, crowds followed him, kings feared him, he baptised Jesus, he heard God’s audible voice from heaven---John finds himself doubting it all when he was rotting in Herod’s dungeon.
Perhaps under the surface, John was asking:
If Jesus is really the Messiah, why then am I in prison?
Why am I about to lose my life?
Why is an evil king getting away with injustice?
So John does something with his doubts. He sends his friends to ask Jesus directly, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3)
Jesus wasn’t offended by the question, nor does he question the wavering faith of John. Instead, he sends others to John, instructing them, “Go and tell John what you have seen…” (Matthew 11:4) Unable to see all that God was doing from prison, John would be encouraged to hear about God’s work through others.
Sometimes our circumstances darken our understanding of God and we become susceptible to doubt and fear. In such times we need our friends, our community, our church. We need to borrow the eyes of another. We need to rely on the vision of other people’s faith to restore our own.
When our faith is challenged, we may fight the temptation to run from God, or avoid people and places that remind us of God. But if you ever feel like you don’t want to go to church, it is then you need it more than ever. Among many blessings of gathering with God’s people, one is that we get to borrow the eyes of others. Our faith is made stronger by hearing and seeing the faith of others.