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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible


John the Baptist

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Lesson 4: John the Baptist – Suffered Doubt Just Like You And Me


Matthew 11:1-6.

Suffered Doubt Just Like You And Me

How is it that even great people of God have doubts? Adam had doubts. Abraham had doubts. Jacob had doubts. King David had doubts. Job had doubts. Elijah had doubts. John the Baptist had doubts. And we all remember that Thomas had doubts. Recently there was huge bewilderment expressed that even Mother Theresa had doubts.

Why do Christians have doubts? Well, I guess the first thing we need to recognise is that it isn’t a sin to have doubts. We are finite human beings with finite brains and acute emotions. We see natural reality much easier than we do spiritual reality. On top of that, we have human bodies, which suffer pain, exhaustion, and emotional stress.

Having doubts recognises we don’t fully understand God and His ways. How can we? I’ve already pointed out that we are human and finite whereas God is infinite and divine. To have doubts can be an admission that we are not God – that God is indeed much bigger than we thought.

Miracles can create doubt because, by definition, they are outside our normal expectations. Just because miracles create doubts that should not lead us to assume miracles don’t or can’t take place.

Let’s not be too hard on John. His job was extreme. He had an extreme lifestyle. He saw very high highs and experienced some very low lows too – not the least of which was his imprisonment for exposing King Herod’s adultery with his brother Philip’s wife.

Imagine being let down into a deep dungeon hewn out of rock and with the only light being a tiny hole letting in daylight some 20– 30 feet above you. Add to that the loneliness and anticipation of death. No wonder the enemy played games with his thoughts and memories. Did all his life amount to nothing? Had he really identified the Christ or was Jesus just another would-be saviour.

However, John knew how to combat doubts. Seek out the source of truth. Verify the facts and exclude the emotions. Fortunately, he had some loyal friends who had not deserted him in his time of need, and they were prepared to go on that awesome mission. They went to Jesus and asked the Son of God for the truth.

What was Jesus’ reply? Tell John what you see… the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear and the dead are raised… Miracles are happening all around. Miracles never seen before in your lifetime. Miracles that declare that the Christ has arrived and that Jesus really is the true Messiah – the long awaited One – the One for whom John prepared the way.

Jesus declared the truth. He sent John the greatest message He could ever send. Yes, the Kingdom of God had arrived and was breaking out everywhere. Let go of your doubts – the truth is – I AM is here.

John the Baptist would say to us today...

If we are being effective in the Kingdom of God, Satan will attack us. Never forget his main weapon is to raise doubts: Did God say? Is Jesus really the Messiah? Will you get to Heaven when you die?

Don’t be afraid of the doubts; just remember our faith is based on facts, not feelings.


Father, please help me to understand that it is not unusual to have doubts but to remember that my faith in You is based upon facts, not feelings. Please guard me from giving into the lies of the enemy. Help me, like John, to see what You are doing in this world. Amen.

Additional readings

1 Kings 19:1-18; 2 Kings 6:8-23; John 20:19-31.


What are the doubts you wrestle with?

How could they be settled?

What are the facts you are ‘standing on’ today?

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