Spiritual depression: Matthew 11.1–10 (30 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Matthew 11

There’s something quite wistful or plaintive about John the Baptist’s message to Jesus. He is in gaol, having offended the powerful Herod Antipas. John the Baptist is an authoritative, charismatic figure, like Elijah, but Elijah, plunging into depression after his great victory over the prophets of Baal, felt alone and forsaken (1 Kings 19). Perhaps John, imprisoned in the dungeon of Herod’s fortress of Machaerus, was subject to similar doubts. Was Jesus really the Messiah, or should Israel look for someone else (verse 3)?

Doubt and spiritual depression are facts of life. Some of us are more prone to them than others. They are not evidence of an unspiritual mind or a faithless heart; they can be the reverse, in fact, as those who experience these things wrestle with deep questions of meaning. But they are painful and distressing, and it can be hard to know how to help someone going through them.

Jesus’ answer to John’s disciples is, ‘Go back and tell John what you are hearing and seeing’ (verse 4). In other words, he appeals to the evidence of experience. Sometimes it isn’t subtle reasoning or intellectual argumentation that cuts through to the needs of a questioning soul, but just a plain practical demonstration: this works. The Kingdom of God is here, and if you look around you, you can see it for yourself.

And perhaps believers today are called not just to provide arguments for faith, but evidence.

Pray

Pray

God, help me to see the evidence of your goodness and power, as your kingdom comes in and through the lives of your people. And help me to be part of your work in transforming the world.

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