Jesus got the word that John had been beheaded by Herod. John was dear to Jesus. They were cousins. But, even more than this, John had been the one who prepared the way for Jesus. Even when people want to give John position, he said, “I am not the Christ. I’m not even worthy to tie his sandals.”
John was arrested. And while in prison, he had plenty of time to think. He wondered if he had missed it. Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Christ. So, he brought his doubts to Jesus.
I wonder how many of us do that. When we have questions, do we bring them to Jesus? Or do we bring them to friends? Or just try to figure them out on our own?
John brought his doubts to Jesus. He sent a friend to Jesus with this message:
Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another? Matthew 11:3
Jesus sent word to John right away. “Tell John what is happening. The blind are receiving sight. The lame are walking. Lepers are being cleansed. The deaf are hearing. The dead are being raised. And the poor are receiving the good news. John, everything that you wanted to see happen, is happening.”
And as the messenger turned back toward the prison, Jesus said, ” Of all the men that have ever been born, none is greater than John the Baptist.”
And now Jesus has received word that John has been beheaded.
Think about it for a minute. Think about how you would feel, what you would think, how you would respond. One of your dearest friends has been cruelly and unjustly killed. How would you feel? What would you do?
Jesus takes time to grieve. He gets in a boat, lands on a lonely shore, and spends some time by himself.
And I’m wondering if you need to take some time to grieve. Too often we just bury the pain. We put it in a neat package. We pretend like it’s not so bad. We go on with life and we don’t take the time to grieve.
What would it be like for you to take time to grieve? What would it be like for you to get some time by yourself to think, to pray, to cry.” What would that be like?
If today is a day in which you’re experiencing a loss, would you take some time, like Jesus did, to grieve?
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. Matthew 14:13