Daily Devotion - March 16, 2021 - Easing Doubt in the Face of Death

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – March 16, 2021
Reading:
Matthew 11:2-19
Theme: From Death to Life
Today: Easing Doubt in the Face of Death

Over the past six years, I have had the experience of watching some very dear people face death as a pastor, friend, and family member. I have listened as the person facing death talks about dying with great confidence that a better life is in store for him or her. I have heard people express fears of death yet have seen family members find peace in knowing their loved one has gone on to glory.

Today’s passage is about John, the Baptist, as he faces the possibility of his death in prison. He is very honest about his doubts and sends his own disciples to go and ask Jesus this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” He needed to know that all his preparation was not in vain and because he had done what God created him to do and now was in prison because of it, he was having some doubts. Jesus told John’s disciples to go back and tell John what they have heard and seen, giving them concrete examples to share with John such as the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the leper being cleansed, the deaf being able to hear, the dead being raised, and the good news being preached to the poor. John’s disciples went back to John to offer this assurance.

Jesus then goes on to testify to the crowd about the great witness of John as he prepared the way for the promised Messiah… there was no one greater that John the Baptist. But as great as John was, the least person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. John did exactly as he was supposed to do, yet those who will come behind John and receive the grace of God poured out through Jesus Christ will inherit a greater spiritual inheritance because they will have seen or learned of the death of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. In other words, John’s ministry ushered in the kingdom of heaven. John was the first New Testament (Covenant) prophet who faced the sins of all people and pointed people to God. Jesus points out that the crowd he was speaking to, judged John who did not eat or drink as they did, so they said he was a demon. And they condemned Jesus because he did eat and drink and said he was a glutton, a drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Jesus came to turn the establishment upside down by challenging their comfortable, secure, and self-centered lives. It is always easier to look at someone else’s ungodly life rather than to recognize that we ourselves are not living a life that reflects the love and mercy of God. Jesus came to save all

John the Baptist had doubts about his future as he faced death. Jesus sent John’s disciples back to assure him that he had spoken the truth about the Messiah and to give him concrete examples of what Jesus was doing as the Messiah. Jesus informs the crowd that the kingdom of God is different than they have been taught. As great and dedicated as John was in carrying out God’s purpose, the ones who listen and hears God’s Word, and in gaining insight and wisdom from God will experience the kingdom of God in a way John could not because he died prior to Jesus’ death on the cross. Because we live after Christ’s death on the cross, we have assurance of faith, that through Jesus’ death our sins have been forgiven. By believing in Jesus, we will experience new and eternal life.

Dear God, thank you for sending us Jesus to take on our sins so that we might live a life more abundant now and eternally. Help us to understand that we are no longer bound by and to sin. And that we can have assurance, even in death, that through believing we are redeemed, not by our works but by Jesus. Amen.

 
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