My pastor preached on this passage recently, and since his sermon is fresh in my mind, I'm sure it contributed greatly to this post. Thanks, Pastor Fenton!
LINK: Matthew 11
Matthew 11:1-19 has a parallel passage in Luke 7:18-35
John had been proclaiming the coming of the kingdom and telling everyone to repent. He introduced Jesus to the world when he baptized him. He was the "Elijah" promised in Malachi 4:5. He knew who Jesus was. But John was put in prison for preaching the truth. His ideas of a political messiah didn't seem to be coming true in Jesus. So now he wasn't so sure. He began to doubt his own message from God. Had he wasted his life on a false message? John was confused, so he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask and make sure Jesus was really the Messiah.
Jesus sent a message back to John. "See the miracles I perform as evidence of my divinity." Then he turned to the crowd and reminded them who John was. In general, people scoffed at John because he preached in his unique way and didn't drink or go to parties. Then they scoffed at Jesus because he did eat and drink with people. It didn't matter who God's messenger was or what he did, the people didn't believe. And because they didn't believe who Jesus was, they would be condemned.
There were some, though, who believed Jesus was from God. They believed because God revealed it to them. Jesus calls these people to himself where he would give rest to their souls.
When John had doubts, he went to Jesus. Notice that Jesus didn't condemn John but answered his question. Jesus reminded John of who he was and pointed to his miracles as evidence of his claim.
Sometimes we have doubts. Jesus doesn't condemn us for our doubts. But he reminds us who he is and promises us rest for our souls.
Doubts tend to rise in our hearts whenever things aren't going quite like we think they should. (We're a lot like John.) When we face tragedy or serious illness, we tend to lose our clear thinking for a while. I think we often condemn ourselves (or others) for having doubts, and rather than dealing with those questions in our hearts, we try to bury or ignore them. All believers have doubts at times. We will see later in the gospels how the disciples closest to Jesus even did. But Jesus draws us to himself, calms our hearts, and reminds us of who he is.
Do you sometimes wonder what God is doing? Do you have doubts in your heart? Take them to Jesus in prayer. Search his word and be reminded of who Jesus is and what he has done, and is still doing, and will do for you. He is the only source of rest for your searching soul.
Lord, thank you that you know our hearts. You are gentle when we come to you with confused or doubting hearts. Thank you for demonstrating who you are and giving us your written word. You often confirm yourself to me in my heart, and I thank you for that. May we always seek to know you better and draw closer to you. Amen.