It is interesting that when John was in prison and he heard about 'the Messiah' he sent some of his followers to ask Jesus 'Are you the one or should we expect someone else?'
Was this not the same John who baptized Jesus, who saw the Spirit descend, who heard the voice of Father say 'this is my son, listen to Him' and who said himself 'Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' - Yes, we are talking about that John!
Now here he was, in prison, probably at a 'low ebb' was he doubting ? needing reassurance? Maybe prison had never featured in his 'personal life plan' and he just needed to know it was about something real? He would, no doubt, have been aware of the many other people (around 400 we believe) who were claiming to be 'the Messiah' . To be honest, we don't really know why he had reached a place where he felt that he needed to ask the 'are you for real' question about Jesus.
However, what is important is Jesus attitude and answer. There was no hint that Jesus was in any way affronted, upset, surprised or disappointed that his cousin, John, had expressed what, to many people, sounded very much like doubts.
Jesus simply pointed out that what was promised was actually happening. Jesus had indicated right at the beginning of His ministry that His sole purpose was to let people into 'the good news of the Kingdom' He was in 'the Kingdom advancing business' and that this 'good news' would include, among other things, the work of the enemy being destroyed. Some of the very tangible indications of this were healing and releasing people from oppression and the power of the devil.
When faced with John's question Jesus, without hesitation, points to the demonstrations of Gods Kingdom bringing life and freedom to ordinary people. Here was the evidence - the promise of the advancing Kingdom being worked out and fulfilled day by day.
“Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
Matthew 11:4-5 NIVUK
We know that there are other tangible demonstrations of the advancing Kingdom that Jesus also pointed to . Firstly the depth and quality of love that begins to be lived out in the lives of those who follow him and the ultimate 'work of the enemy' death and the fear of death, being defeated on the cross.
If we are in a place where we have questions that may sound like doubts or like disillusionment or disappointment or dissatisfaction with God - ask them and He will meet us in them. He will not judge but will reveal to us what we need to move on and join Him in the 'Kingdom advancing business'
And there is more- remember Matt 10? Jesus gave authority & power to those who follow Him to be able to demonstrate the answer to those in our communities who have the same honest and understandable questions as John.