“Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and 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. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.’” Matthew 11:2-6
John had obeyed God. He was leading a revival with the spirit of Elijah on him and people were repenting and being forgiven of their sins. The only thing left was for the leadership to repent, so the whole nation could return to God. With that in mind, he confronted Herod Antipas about his wrong relationship with Herodias. Instead of repenting and being part of the revival, Antipas had John thrown in prison. This was not what John had prayed would happen nor what he had expected; he was disappointed.
It was in that place, in prison, alone, disappointed, that the man of God began to question everything. His predecessor, Elijah, went through a similar experience and also found himself alone expressing his disappointment to God. (See 1Kings 19) If these two great heroes of faith were tested in this way, it shouldn’t surprise us that dealing with disappointment is also part of our journey.
We all have desires and expectations that we want God to meet. When He doesn’t follow our plan in our time we experience disappointment which can easily turn into an offense against God. What John needed was the same thing Elijah needed; a fresh word from God. How intimate that Jesus would take time to give His friend in prison a specific word. He quoted Isaiah 61, a familiar Messianic scripture, assuring John that He indeed was the Expected One. John had heard right and had done just what God had wanted him to do, but was now faced with his biggest test – disappointment. Jesus gave him the path to freedom: “Blessed is he who does not take offense with Me.”
Let’s make sure we don’t get offended when God’s plan is different than ours. If you’re sitting in disappointment today and need a fresh word from heaven, why not ask right now?