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Matthew 4:11-12: John the Baptist in prison.

Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 17, 2011


Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Mat 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

 

After years of dedication and spiritual preparation under the most humbling conditions, John’s ministry was short lived. Immediately after fulfilling his mission to baptize Jesus, John lost his freedom.

We do not know exactly how long John wasted away in Herod’s prison, but based on John’s question sent to Jesus from prison, we can see how some of the scriptures may have encouraged John during those dark days.

And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. (8) He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. (9) And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.Isaiah 25:7-9.

Isaiah 29:18-24 (18) And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. (19) The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. (20) For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: (21) That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. (22) Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. (23) But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. (24) They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

 

As dedicated as John was to God, he was not able to witness Jesus’ ministry. If he had, doubts would have never entered his mind. During his life John had grown accustom to viewing the vast horizon, smells of the open field, and sounds of nature all around him. Now all John had was a small dark prison cell. As the dark walls closed in on John, questions pressed hard on his heart. He longed to see the works of the Messiah.

Confined to a prison cell, John had no choice but to send his followers to find out if Jesus was the Messiah promised in the scriptures.

Luke 7:17-23 MKJV And this report of Him went out in all Judea, and in all the neighborhood. (18) And his disciples reported all these things to John. (19) And John, calling near a certain two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, Are You He that should come, or do we look for another? (20) And coming to Him, the men said, John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, Are You He who should come, or do we look for another? (21) And in the same hour He cured many of infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits. And He gave sight to many who were blind. (22) And answering, Jesus said to them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard; that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is proclaimed to the poor. (23) And blessed is he who shall not be offended in Me.

 

Jesus knew the words that would comfort John in his hour of need. This was a connection between the two established by the Holy Spirit. This is an illustration of the connecting power of the Holy Spirit. Distance did not diminish the power of the Spirit. Neither did conditions. John’s prayers, and the desire of his heart were known, understood by the Spirit, and met by Jesus.

Jesus had a great love and respect for John. Jesus understood John’s role in His ministry, and the sacrifices John endured to fulfill his mission. Jesus knew the scriptures describing John and the work he was chosen to perform.

 

Matthew 11:7-15 MKJV And as they departed, Jesus began to say to the crowds concerning John, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? (8) But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, they who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. (9) But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yea, I say to you, and one more excellent than a prophet. (10) For this is the one of whom it is written, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You.” (11) Truly I say to you, Among those who have been born of women there has not risen a greater one than John the Baptist. But the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. (12) And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence, and the violent take it by force. (13) For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. (14) And if you will receive it, this is Elijah who is to come. (15) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

John was not the only person Jesus praised. Jesus also praised the woman with the two mites, Mary when she bathed Jesus’ feet with perfume and anointed His head, Zacchaeus, and many others. Jesus understood the importance of praise. Imagine being trusted and praised by the King of the universe. These are only two of the unlimited forms of infinite love Jesus offers to us.

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