How Can We Be Sure It Is True
Evidences From Prophecy
“Look, the Lamb of God!” What did you think of when you first read these words of John the Baptist? Did you remember the teachings of Moses? Did you remember the words of Isaiah? This was the experience of many of those who listened to John by the river. They knew the message was true because the words were not new. Coming from the lips of this unusual person were thoughts and ideas they recognized; words they had heard from all the respected prophets.
There was no doubt in the minds of the people that the One named Jesus presented by John represented the fulfillment of many prophecies. Isaiah had said the Messiah would be born of a virgin and would be called Immanuel, which means “God among us.” Both David and Isaiah had described many details of His life and person.
Most important, however, was the fact that in Jesus, the Messiah, all the symbolism of the sacrificial lamb was made clear. As Isaiah had foretold, a light of understanding came bursting over the earth. God revealed in human flesh for man to see would become the perfect lamb whose blood could truly pay the penalty for sinful mankind. One Holy Lamb would be the final sacrifice. We will discuss this more fully in our next lesson.
Evidences From the Work of Jesus, the Messiah
We have found in our studies that the lives of great prophets are not easy and comfortable. All of them have had to suffer in order to accomplish what God sent them to do. John the Baptist was put into prison because he told the truth! Even though people went in crowds to hear him and many repented, the leaders rejected him. Even though almost everyone realized, that his ministry fulfilled prophecy, they could not save him from the jealous and angry rulers.
As John sat alone in the prison he became discouraged. He was a humble and righteous man. He was obedient and successful in doing the work God had called him to do. Still, he was a human being and had feelings similar to those we all have. He began to doubt. He began to say, “I wonder if it is all true, what I have believed about Jesus, the Messiah.” He said to his followers who visited him in prison, “Go and ask Jesus this question: Are you the One who was to come or should we expect someone else?”
When Jesus, the Messiah, heard the question His heart was touched with love and concern. He knew the question came from real desire to know the truth. He was quick to supply the best answer.
He said to the messengers, “Go report to John what you have seen and heard as you have followed me. Tell him the blind receive sight, the lame walk, leprosy is cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised. Most important, the good news is preached.”
We see, then, that prophecy was fulfilled not only in the words of John the Baptist, but in the work of Jesus, the Messiah. We see, too, that Jesus did not scold John for doubting. He did not argue in grand lectures. He simply let the truth speak for itself. Many of our own questions can be answered in the same way. If we open our hearts and minds, read the Scriptures, and listen to the testimonies of others, we can expect God to guide us into truth.
We learn something else from the experience of John the Baptist: It is natural for men to doubt. It is natural for all of us to ask questions. The matter of religion is serious! It is so important to each person! Our souls long for truth. We need to be sure. God understood how John felt, and He understands us, too. He did not rebuke John for asking questions; but He provided answers. In compassion, He assured John of the truth. When we express sincere questions, He will do the same for us.
The followers of John continued to report to him concerning the work of Jesus, the Messiah. It was plain that every detail of prophecy was being fulfilled. It was clear that Jesus, the Messiah, did miracles through the power of the Spirit within Him, and that God’s merciful plan of redemption was being visibly manifested through the person of Jesus, the Messiah. Ml doubt was gone.
The ministry of John the Baptist came to a sad end as he was killed in the prison. But he had done the work for which he had been born. He had completed in a perfect way the task God had given him. He had prepared the way for the revelation of God’s mystery as we shall see in our next lesson.
He had introduced the Messiah.
He had confirmed all other prophets in one victorious cry: Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.