While John was in prison, he was dependent on other people to relay Jesus’ actions to him, and the reports he received confused him as to whether or not Jesus really was the Messiah. Even though he previously expressed faith in Jesus as Messiah, John’s doubts here were likely the result of his prolonged imprisonment. Jesus confirmed His identity as the Christ by appealing to His miraculous and gracious works. He never chastised John for asking the question. Instead, he held up John as a model prophet and follower.
Read Matthew 11:1-15:
- What are some common sources of doubt in the lives of believers today?
- How did John deal with his doubts? What can we learn from his example about how we might deal with our own doubts?
- Why are we sometimes hesitant to voice our doubts to God?
- How did Jesus respond to John’s doubts? What does that tell us about Him?
- Jesus mentioned six things that characterized His earthly ministry in verse 5. How did these things give answer to John’s doubts? Of these six, which is the most powerful to you (and why)?
Read Matthew 11:16-30:
- Why do you think no amount of evidence or testimony about Jesus is good enough for some people? How does that knowledge impact your witnessing efforts?
- Do Jesus’ words here seem only to apply to unbelievers? How might believers misplace their expectations of Jesus and miss out on the life He came to offer them?
- What difference does it make in your troubles when you look directly to Jesus? How is He fundamentally different from every other source of help?
- Why do we tend to believe that Jesus is a taskmaster rather than a tender master?
Taking it home:
- How might we remind ourselves daily of the character of Christ this week in a way that combats doubt?
- What are some practical ways we can help one another deal honestly with our doubts?
- How can we make sure our small group is a place where people come and get rest through Christ?
Other Scriptures to Engage with this week:
Acts 7:30-35 • Jeremiah 1:4-11 • Isaiah 50:4-9 • Genesis 28:10-22 • Malachi 4 • Isaiah 29:15-24.