Are You the One? | Day 28

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3 ESV)

Herein lies one of the most tragic, but hopeful, accounts in all of Scripture. Sometime into Jesus’ ministry, Herod arrested John the Baptist because he was declaring some of Herod’s actions to be sinful. Ultimately, Herod would end up beheading the prophet, but in Matthew 11, John is still alive and in prison. Given the brutal conditions that ancient prisons maintained, John apparently begins to have some level of doubt about Jesus, so he sent his disciples to ask Jesus one critical question:

Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?

In the midst of his desperate situation, John longs for a confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah because if Jesus is the Savior, then suffering is nothing compared to following Christ. Jesus responds by reminding John of numerous signs of the coming Messiah (Isa. 26:18-19, 29:18-19, 53:4, 61:1), which John’s disciples have seen happening with Jesus: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lepers are clean, the dead live, and the poor hear good news. Finally, Jesus tells John, “blessed is the one who is not offended by me (v. 6).”

There is, I believe, great comfort to be found here. After John’s disciples leave, Jesus informs the crowds that John is the messenger from Micah 3:1 and that “there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist (v. 11).” But in spite of these glowing words from Jesus, John still had doubts; he wondered in his darkest hours whether it was all worth it.

Fortunately, Jesus is big enough to overcome our doubts. Just like He calmed John’s fears, Jesus is ready to “have mercy on those who doubt (Jude 22).”


Consider past and/or present doubts concerning Christ. How has the LORD helped (or is helping) you resolve them?


 

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The Man of Faith

Abraham Eats With God (Genesis 18:1-15)

Abraham Study Guide (Week 8)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. (Genesis 18:1)

Is there anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. (Genesis 18:14)

And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, Then who can be saved? Jesus looked at them and said, With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:26-27)

OPENING THOUGHT

After thirteen years of God being silent, God spoke to Abram once again last week. Though he was ninety-nine years old and content with finally having a son, the LORD shook Abram’s world. First, God emphasized to Abram again that many nations would descend from him. To drive this point home, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (which means “father of a multitude”). Second, the LORD re-established His covenant promise with Abraham. In order to give Abraham a physical reminder of this covenant, God commanded him to be circumcised. Third, God clarified that Ishmael would not be Abraham’s heir; rather, Sarah would bear him a son.

Though chapter 17 ended with Abraham obeying God and showing his faith, we did not see Sarah’s response to being told that she would have a child at the age of ninety. In this section of Scripture, that is exactly what we see. Three mysterious men appear before Abraham in the middle of the afternoon, and Abraham shows hospitality by treating them to lunch. Abraham quickly realizes that they are not ordinary men, but that he is being visited by God. However, in verse 9, we learn that Sarah is the focus of this lunch, not Abraham. The LORD declares that she will bear a son within a year.

The centerpiece of this section is upon Sarah’s reaction to God’s words, and God response to her. At hearing that she will have a child, Sarah erupts into incredulous laughter to herself; however, God asks if her laughter is justified. God asks Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” This question brings God’s omnipotence to the forefront. If He is truly all-powerful, then the LORD is able to give Sarah a child, regardless of her age. For us today, there is an important correlation between Isaac’s birth and our salvation—namely that both are equally impossible. But thanks be to God, nothing is too hard for the LORD.

Read verses 1-5 and discuss the following.

  1. The chapter begins by saying that the LORD appeared to Abraham. What does this say about the nature and character of God?
  2. When Abraham saw the three men appear, he greeted them and showed great hospitality. Why is hospitality so emphasized here? What is the importance of being hospitable today?

Read verses 6-8 and discuss the following.

  1. The LORD has lunch with Abraham. In the Bible, what is the significance of sharing a meal with someone? What does this say about Abraham’s relationship with God?

Read verses 9-12 and discuss the following.

  1. God turns His attention to Sarah and proclaims that she will have a son in one year. Sarah simply laughs at the ridiculousness of God’s declaration. What did Sarah’s reaction reveal about her understanding of God? Have you ever wrestled to believe something that you know to be true of God?

Read verses 13-14 and discuss the following.

  1. In response to Sarah, the LORD asks if there is anything too hard for Him, assuring her that He can perform the impossible. How is Sarah’s situation similar to our salvation?

Read verse 15 and discuss the following.

  1. Sarah lies that she did not laughed at God’s promise because she is afraid, but God rebukes her. Though fear itself is not sinful, can fear naturally lead to sin?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Reflect upon your hospitality and generosity towards others along with Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3.
  • Prayerfully think of any fearfulness or insecurity in your heart. Consider then the all-sufficiency and omnipotence of God. Bring yours fears and insecurities before the LORD in prayer.