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Jesus' Encounter with John the Baptist

Benjamin Ng
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  • March 12, 2021
    7:15 PM
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Father in heaven thank you so much for this time that we have to study together this evening thank you Lord for your watch care over us for your blessings upon us and especially for these holy Sabbath was Lord as we're about to open your world to study I pray that you please guide us with your spirit lead us into all truth Oh father and bless us that we might know how to apply these lessons on the word that we're about to read we know we may know how to apply this to our lives this evening for we pray in Jesus name a man. Jesus and counter with John the Baptist were going to go to our 1st Texas evening found in Matthew Chapter 11 and verse 2 now when John had heard in the prison and this is John the Baptist when he had heard in the prison the works of Christ he sent 2 of his disciples Now why was John in prison what was he doing there he was a free man for so long and all of a sudden we find that he's ended up in prison any he sends 2 of his disciples to go look for Jesus but before we get there let's look at the reason why John was in prison in the 1st place in ma Chapter 6 verse 17 and 18 the Bible says this for Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John and bound him in prison for her road. His brother's wife for he had married her for John had sentence of Herod it is not lawful for the to have the brother's wife why did he end up in prison because you see Herod had committed adultery fornication against his brother by marrying his wife Horo Yes you know friends when you do God's work you have to be brave you've got to have a backbone you've got to be willing to speak the truth in spite of the consequences and no matter who you are speaking it and you know God allowed John the Baptist to be imprisoned following God and doing His will is always is not always part of me a bed of roses it requires a sacrifice and in this case John in a sense got in trouble for preaching the truth you know we see this right the Bible Joseph he was honest men and because of his on a city and integrity he ended up in prison Paul I mean when you study about 1st and 2nd Corinthians you'll find a long list of what he went through just because he was faithful he was a. Prisoned he was stoned he was whipped all sorts of things he was shipwrecked even King David who had done nothing wrong he had been anointed a king secretly but because of the jealousy of Saul he had to run for his life he was a fugitive even though he had been faithful to God He was a man after God's own heart you know friends when we follow God many times many times we can also have many trials not because we did anything wrong but because we were faithful and this is what happened with John the Baptist so John's in prison and he sends 2 of his disciples to go and seek out Jesus he wants to ask Jesus something through his disciples What is it Matthew Chapter 11 and verse 3 and 7 to him Art thou he that should come or do we look for another. What was John the Baptist asking he was asking if Jesus really was the promised Messiah or should they go and look for a different person now look why would John the Baptist ask such a thing I mean John he was meant to be full of faith right he was the forerunner of Christ he was the one that declared himself that Jesus was a lamb that taketh away the sin of the world he also was the one that baptized Jesus and Saul with his own eyes the Holy Spirit descending like a doll and coming down upon Jesus Christ and he heard that voice from heaven declaring that this is my son so why did John the Baptist seem like he was doubting that Jesus was the Messiah are you the one that we're waiting for all should we go look for another you see people were expecting to for Jesus or at least the Messiah to set up a government that would conquer the Romans and to liberate the Jews to be their own independent nation again and to build to go out and fight the battles of God like they did in the Old Testament that's what they were looking for and so John he's in prison and he's doubting Is Jesus really the one I mean if Jesus really was the Messiah you know he has should be coming to the prison to save me right he should be setting me free why isn't he coming to help me after all John the Baptist was Jesus cousin as well so they were linked in many ways in the work and through family as well but John he began to doubt because he was in prison he had too much time to to think he was stuck there and be he began to beat down on himself and pity himself and just start thinking of self. You know that's like us so often isn't it friends when when anything bad happens to us we begin to doubt God we begin to question God we begin to get angry at God and why because he doesn't help us we have this misconception and mis understanding of God when we go through trials and temptations when we lose our job or lose some money or we get sick you know we just about lose our religion isn't we mis understand God and we we forget like John what God is like the sun rises on the good and the bad friends it rains on the good in the bad and we forget stories like Job where God allowed trial to come upon his life we just expect good at the hands of God and we never realize that God sometimes stands back and in through the mysterious workings of his will we don't see beyond that we begin to question and we misunderstand him so John's disciples they come and us Jesus this question and how does Jesus respond to these disciples Well at 1st Jesus actually does not respond look at this Luke Chapter 7 and verse $21.00 and in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues and of evil spirits and on to many that were blind he gave sight. Jesus actually continues his work that he was probably doing before those disciples got there so I ask him that question he goes about healing those that were sick who those who are evil spirits and those that were blind Matthew chapter 11 verse 4 and 5 says this Jesus answered and said And to them Go and show John again those things which he do hear and see the blind receive their sight the lame walk the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. You know I don't know if Jesus really did that in one sitting or in one hour maybe he did that throughout the whole day but after he's done with healing those that were sick and that were blind Jesus turns around and he gives his attention back to John's disciples He told them to do what go back and tell Don simply what they saw with their own eyes give the personal testimony of what you saw what did they see the Bible said what the blind received their sight Well let's go back to the text the lame Will walking again the lepers were cleansed the death could hear the dead will resurrected the poor heard the gospel preached to them you know friends they simply saw all the good works of Jesus healing people and preaching the gospel to everybody what good works with these I mean why why was Jesus telling him or telling the disciples go back and tell John what you saw you see in the works that he did did you see anything there of a political nature did it seem like he was recruiting an army or making a speech together funs to go on fund an army from Egypt of orders from the surrounding nations nothing of that sort right it doesn't seem like Jesus was trying in any way to set up a earthly kingdom where he would be king geezers in performing these works he was trying to remind John of the true mission of the Messiah he was trying to pierce the gloom of the dungeon that John was in and remind him that what he was thinking was not correct why. What he was thinking earlier was correct that he really was the Messiah and that he had just simply mis understood awful got but to me forgotten what the true mission of the Messiah would be you know some of the prophecies in the Old Testament it's mingled Christ yes he's coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords he's the Almighty God The Prince right of peace but in there it also has text like this in the Old Testament Isaiah 61 in verse one look at this the spirits of the Lord God is upon me because a lot have the gnawing to me to preach good tidings unto the meek he has sent me to blind up the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that abound you see when you look at this prophecy of the Messiah in the Old Testament nowhere in this prophecy does it foretell of the Messiah coming as a king to conquer the whole world God's Spirit would come down on the chosen one to preach heal and maybe you know John he read the last part do you or do you look at that last point you maybe read the last part of the verse where it said the Messiah would open the prison to those that were bound and here John was sitting in prison and Jesus wasn't helping him and so he began to doubt. I doubt that Jesus was actually the Messiah when he had so much evidence already that he actually was John was the one that that Saul the Spirit of God does stand like a doll of on Jesus after he baptized him look at this in John 132 John bare record saying what I saw all the Spirit descending from heaven the Goodall of and the boat upon him is just that in the gloom of the dungeon when he had time to think of his own life he had just forgotten what the old testimony Testament prophecies had pointed forward to about the coming Messiah remember all they had was the Old Testament the New Testament was not written yet but it was in the Old Testament it would make clear not just when Messiah would come but the nature of his coming it was a virgin birth and not just that but. The work that he would do when he came Look at this and Isaiah 42 and verses 6 through 8 I the Lord have called the in righteousness and will hold the line and and will keep the and give the for the covenant of the people for a light of the Gentiles so open the blind eyes to bring out the prisoners from the prison there that verse is about prisoners coming out of prison again and then that sit in darkness out of the prison house I am the Lord that is my name and my glory will I not give to another neither my praise to graven images so we have all these prophecies in the Old Testament about the work of the Messiah and John had forgotten not only had he seen the Spirit of God descend clearly upon Jesus with his own ice but he baptized me heard the voice but had forgotten the Old Testament prophecies so Christ he does not come out right and tell the disciples Yes I am the Messiah rather he did the works that lined up with the old testament of what the Bible said that the Messiah would do he reminded John again that he was without saying it in so many words truly the Messiah you know Francis is really interesting because Jesus could have just said yes I'm the messiah Please go back and tell John that he doesn't do that he goes and just does all the works and he just tells the disciples tell John what you have seen that's it just tell them what you have seen what I did. Why because only those that was students of the Word of God would be able to discern what that meant we don't even know if the disciples of John the Baptist understood what it meant because they were still disciples of John I mean if if I found out that this was really a messiah I would quickly go and become his disciple even though I was a disciple of John isn't it so even those disciples will probably miss understanding the Old Testament prophecies excuse me. But you see John's disciples were not the only ones there were other people that were standing around Christ and yet the other bystanders did not discern as well they obviously were not students of the word many were just glad to be healed and some had probably just come to see a few miracles you see that but Jesus ends his little talk with the disciples of John with this in Matthew Chapter 11 and verse 6 and bless it is he whosoever shall not be offended in me you know John is feeling offended obviously because Jesus isn't helping him it's just his human self that's rising up but Jesus sends this gentleman message of rebuke to John and asks him to maintain his faith in him John had it correct he had not mis understood Jesus Christ whom John had baptised really was the Messiah but in the gloom of the dungeon. He began to doubt a little so Christ sends his message of gentle rebuke but also a message of comfort and it would be this message that would strengthen John's a hold on ending deal because John the Baptist would never come out of the John dungeon he would eventually be beheaded by Herrod because of the hatred that head toward him so that was. It was a message of comfort even just go tell John what I saw but tell him not to be offended as well not to be offended when I don't let him out of prison friends do you get offended when Christ doesn't come to your help do you get offended when he doesn't help you you know I hear of different stories are Christ didn't help me with a job I was without a job for one year and now I get this job and I go to work on the Sabbath I'm going to take it because Christ didn't help me what you still have a faithful right while I I sold my house because I wanted to move out to another country and God does not help me sell my house and so people get angry at him and want to leave. But don't you understand that sometimes not being able to sell your house is an answer to that as well the problem is not that we don't get of that we get offended when Christ doesn't answer it's we get offended when when Christ says and we're not happy with the answer you know John he was just asking you understand that he'd been in the dungeon and Christ didn't give him an answer of of course that was an answer in and of itself but he just wanted to make sure because he didn't let go of Christ he still held on Hugh just had to double check and Christ gave him that clear answer John I am the Messiah just trust me. And you know after John's disciples they leave to go back with a message for John Jesus turns to the rest of the crowd and he talks to them about John he talks to everybody who is witnessing this encounter that they must think or John the Baptist you're failing in your faith John you've done something seriously wrong you know and so just in case these people might might get an idea to misunderstand the importance of John and the greatness of John look at what Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 11 verses 711 and as they departed Jesus began to say into the multitudes concerning John what went out in the wilderness to see a read shaken with the wind but what what went before to see a man clothed in soft Rayment behold they that were soft clothing are in King's Houses but what went out for to see a prophet Yea I see unto you and more than a prophet for this is he of whom it is written behold I send my messenger before the I face which shall prepare the way before the Verily I say unto you among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater then he you know Jesus he was praising who John the Baptist was just in case people miss understood about John was Christ had to set it right he s. he had a bit of doubt oh moment of stumbling but but even though the disciples came questioning and that question was from John and that question showed doubts it seemed like John's faith was wavering but Christ made it clear John he was a prophet yea he was more than a prophet he was the greatest of all of them. Even though Christ had to gently rebuke John it did not change anything as to who John was and his calling Jesus does not give anywhere else a more glowing praise and adoration of a person in all the Bible it wasn't in the hearing of John the Baptist of course Christ had to make sure that his disciples left 1st so that the pride did not get to John's heart in those last moments in prison but Jesus called John more than a prophet and then also said of John in verse 11 among those that are born of a woman there is no one greater than John the Baptist you know friends this is a comforting thought why. You would have thought that someone like John the Baptist's 2 who preached so fearlessly who was the forerunner of Christ he was one that pointed out Jesus in the crowd saying there's a lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world you would have thought that someone who prepared all their life for ministry would have never doubted Christ as the Messiah that his faith would not even waver for a 2nd and it's not that you know we look for excuses to doubt and not trying to comfort us like hey friends it's Ok to doubt that's not what I'm saying and and to lower our standard of faith in someone in the Bible no friends but Christ was the one who said of John the Baptist that he was a greatest of all prophets even right after he rebuked them and it just goes to show that Christ was acquainted with the human heart he understands what we go through the struggles in the flesh and it was for this reason that he Jesus came to the earth you know though John was doubtful. He was not like how many of us react in going back to our old life of sin when something doesn't go our way and we get stressed out or we get annoyed and we are questioning God we tend to go back to our old lives but not John and you not John he just needed to be sure he was really just asking Jesus how come you aren't coming to take me out of prison why aren't you coming to help me and though he was doubtful he waited for the disciples to come back to him with an answer and the answer that Christ gave him would be sufficient it would be enough to strengthen him in this last trial to help them to hold on to Jesus Christ as the promised savior of the world you know friends there is one interesting point that this that's made at the end of this passage and that's what we read here in Matthew 11 the Jesus he's singing the praises of John the Baptist he's a greatest of all prophets he's more than a prophet and at the very end look at what Christ throws in there in Matthew Chapter 11 and verse 11 verily a sense you among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he he that is what least in the kingdom of heaven is greater then he now what does Jesus mean by that I mean John is the greatest right yet the one who is least in the King of heaven is greater than him so is John the greatest or not what does this mean this text is a bit confusing you see friends the text can be read this way though. Those that are least in the kingdom of heaven where in the kingdom of heaven will be greater than John the Baptist and is not because the greater in accomplishments or greater in courage or greater in character or moral worth notice what the Bible texts s. he that is least where in the kingdom of heaven look those that make it into the kingdom of heaven will be greater than John the Baptist why because John was at the door of the Kingdom of Heaven he was still on earth he was looking in. And whilst those that are in there are already greater than him does that make sense those are in heaven already compared to John on Earth that's the comparison that Christ is making and that's the thing friends we've got to make sure that we make it to the Kingdom of Heaven right we've got to make sure we're at with there I mean Jesus gives this glowing praise of John the Baptist and I'm sure that he will be there on the resurrection morning I am sure that John died a saved man and so if we want to be greater than him and we want to be in the King of Heaven one day we got to make sure that at the least we are like John the Baptist and so let's go back to the description that Christ gives us of John the Baptist Ok let's go to the description that helps us to understand the sort of person that we need to be the sort of life that we need to live if we want to be like John the Baptist Matthew 11 verse 7 as they departed Jesus began to say into the multitudes concerning John what went out into the wilderness to see a reed shaken with the wind. You see John was not a reed shaken with the wind that's why Jesus asked this question it's a rhetorical question we know the answer already he stood firm as a rock no wind blew John over yes he may had a had a seed of doubt but it was plucked out at the very root the very end but you see what does wind represent in the Bible Let's go to fall for team the Bible says this that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive they just see that what does the wind represent their. It's wins of doctrine we got to make sure that if we are to be like John we're not blown by every wind we're not blown by by fables of men and and even false interpretations of of Scripture that men place upon it that we follow Jesus truly that we understand his mission truly and John at the very end did though he misunderstood it for a little while he sent his disciples to go and check and so should it be for us as well if we mis understand the Scriptures or we we listen to a preacher we don't agree with what they're saying before you throw it off go back and study the scriptures to make sure you know what the Bible is truly teaching John he was not shaken or blown over by the wind but what else does wind represent in the Bible in Proverbs Chapter one in verse 27 The Bible says this When your fear cometh as a desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind when distress and anguish cometh upon you you see what does wind represent in the Bible desolation and destruction it's as if when everything goes bad in your life at one go at the same time that is a sort of wins that blow many people over things don't go well in their lives believe Christ trials come up believe Christ we have many reasons as to why we leave Christ all the time but John no matter what he went through even when he was in prison he was questioning but he never let go of Christ it's like this friends when you're going through trials just like Job Job shouted out why God why God he didn't know the reason why but he never let go his hold. On Christ you see that and so so it is it is with John the Baptist friends if we are to be like John the Baptist let's learn to overcome the trials Let's learn not to blame God for the trials let's learn to praise God for all the trials we can have all joy James Chapter one tells us right we can count it all joy we can hold on we can know that Christ through with us we can still learn to be faithful when we have these trials now as a 1st thing he wasn't shaken by the wind but what else characterized who John was in Matthew Chapter 11 Jesus also says this but what went out for to see a man clothed in soft Rayment behold they that wear soft clothing are in King's Houses you know John he was not dressed like kings or queens in the palace he did not wear extravagant clothing or the latest fashion or which the of which the ultra rich wear just to show off he didn't wear a big gold chain about his neck he lived a humble life. And his lifestyle was simple his mode of dressing was simple why his priorities was different he was focused on giving the gospel message a certain sound he was the voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the 1st coming of the Messiah he knew his mission and everything else was secondary to that if we are to be greater than John the Baptist friends we've got to be able to overcome those trials that God allows to come our ways we've got to not blame God we've got to hold on and and thank God in spite of these trials and still be faithful to him but we've got to learn also to live a humble life what does that really mean friends I mean do we have to really dress really 10 years ago sort of fashion or 100 years ago sort of fashion I'm not saying that friends but we've got to use our means in the proper respect or saying it differently we've got to love Jesus and not the world the love of the world and the love of Christ cannot co-exist together. A man or woman cannot be saved loving Jesus and loving the world as well Christ says you will either love one and hate the other or you cleave to the other or cleave to one and despise the other these 2 can not exist in our lives at the same time and I'm not saying that you can all go out there and wear a camel skin and get a leather belt and that's it you know but we've got to learn to live a simple life friends were a little learn to live a simple life like that of John the Baptist if we are to make it to heaven in the future simple is the key word simple in diet simple in dress simple in our faith is written there you believe it that's it he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he you know friends there is much that we can learn from John the Baptist he did have a simple diet he lived in the country and he gave in that simple mindset and I think that's of so important for so many of us today as well there is much that we can learn but from the 2 descriptions that Jesus gave us if we want to be greater than John the Baptist we've got to learn to mimic his priorities his values his lifestyle and so in conclusion you know friends I want to remind you that sometimes we might have a mis understanding of what the Bible says and in fact I believe that many of us we miss understand who God is we think that God is just blessing and that's it he just blesses us it's what we call the prosperity gospel if you come to church God will bless you if you put money in that they're offering by God will bless you you know we just expect blessings from him what should we only expect blessings and not trials as well. It's through the trials that God refines our character and our lives isn't it we got to run with it there is a plop us for the trials there's a purpose for the difficult situations in life that we go through so let's not forget how God leads us how he refines us how he guides each and every one of our lives and so this evening friends if you are going through a trial if you're going through a difficult situation and you're wondering where God is in all of this you're wondering God why did this come upon me I was eating healthy Why did I get cancer I was doing this I was doing that and then God why did you allow this to come upon me. Friends on your mind you then in the questioning make sure you hold on to God until he gives you the arms and he if he doesn't give you the answer this side of Heaven rest assured you will understand it when the dark glass is taken away and you'll be able to see clearly when Hughes will see Jesus face to face there are some questions friends we might not have. This side of heaven and so I'm asking you this evening so hold on don't let your faith waver go back to the Word of God search the Scriptures see the works of Jesus with your own eyes and rest assured he will strengthen your faith and he will give you joy he will give you hope he'll give you courage to face every trial that comes your way let's pray Father in heaven. Lord I want to thank you for giving us this story and this example of John the Baptist lot I pray that you would please help us forgive us of we've missed the Stood you where we've thought that maybe we only should get blessings and that no trial should come upon us anymore forgive us Lord where we've complained and where we've been tempted to let our hold on you to be released but Father help us this evening to understand that sometimes these trials we we might not even find a nonsense of them the side of heaven so help us this evening to to be ready resolute in our purpose to hold on to you until the very end no matter what happens to us and so father for those that are going through trials I pray that you would strengthen them in this time that you would guide them oh lord that you would be with them Lord please you all my brothers and sisters out there this evening help us to rejoice in you that though use us yet we will trust you this is my earnest plea Oh Lord May you please guide us and fill us with a double portion of your spirit we pray in Jesus' name. 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