When Hope is Almost Gone

 Matthew 11:2-6 (NIV) When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples  to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  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 cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

The greatest thing that could happen to anyone is responding to God’s call on their lives. God has called us, first and foremost, to belong to Him by believing in His Son Jesus Christ. We are also called to serve Him in our different vocations. The idea of serving the Almighty God is both exciting and intimidating.

Conflicted but Steadfast

John serving as a transitional prophet, bridges the Old Covenant with the New. His view of the Messiah is probably shaped by the Jewish traditional understanding and expectations of the Messiah: a political, charismatic, militarily powerful leader able to dislodge the Roman Empire and politically liberate Israel. Languishing in prison, John perhaps has second thoughts about who Jesus Christ is. If Jesus is the Messiah, why can’t He at least deliver John from prison? Was He the Messiah, “or should we expect someone else?” (verse 3). Jesus doesn’t explain himself but refers John’s disciples to the miracles He is performing and the good news He is preaching (verses 4, 5).

An Exciting Ministry

Serving the Lord  is exciting because we are privileged to be co-workers with the God who made the heavens and earth by His word. We are serving the One who “by a mere word from his mouth all the stars in the sky were created” (Psalm 33:6 NET). We have been entrusted with a life-changing ministry. Through us God is reconciling the world to Himself.

A Scary Ministry

Serving God can also be an intimidating enterprise because we live in the context of a fallen world.  Siding with God immediately puts us on the wrong side of the world.  In different parts of the world, thousands of the followers of Christ are being arrested, persecuted or even killed because of their faith. How do we come to terms with this grim reality of pain, persecution and death of these men and women of faith? Why does God seem to be dead silent when we need Him most? Has He been defeated?  Like John the Baptist, we come to that moment when we are discouraged and in doubt. But God is still at work! He is committed to accomplishing His purposes. He hasn’t failed—and certainly He hasn’t failed us. Keep your hope alive in Him.

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