“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
(Matthew 11:2, 3)
John the Baptist questions Jesus as to whether He is the Messiah. How could the Prophet John doubt? At first, I objected to my own pastor’s statement, “John the Baptist was depressed.”
No! Not John! It was he, while yet unborn, who leaped in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s greeting, causing Elizabeth to be filled with the Holy Spirit! It was John who pointed out “The Lamb of God” when Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptized; it was John who said, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16)
How then could John pose that question when he himself said, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.’” (John 1:32-34)
John the Baptist depressed? Perhaps it really was so. Recall that Herod the tetrarch had shut John up in prison.
Had John forgotten that when he baptized Jesus, he heard the Father’s confirming voice? “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11 ) Though he recognized Jesus as the Messiah, John had not become His disciple. At the time of his imprisonment he still had his own disciples. So, we see an isolated man, not knowing exactly what was going on, and not having the fellowship of men who were devoted to Jesus. Certainly his functional activity and vitality were lowered.
Can this happen to us? We do have an advantage over John the Baptist. Though Jesus is not with us physically, we are now a part of His Spiritual Body, the Church. We are not alone, isolated from other believers.
Having made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, however, can we not fall away by refusing to gather for worship and fellowship with sisters and brothers in the Body of Christ? Without others, it is easy to lose faith, begin to doubt and spiral down to depression and a lack of hope. We were made to be together within the living church. Having a self-life without others to build up, love and encourage us, makes it extremely easy to fall into error. We can doubt God’s very existence.
If we begin to wonder where God is in our life, who is the one who left? God’s word says He’ll never leave nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) Our responsibility is to stay connected, and be a living part of the Body of Christ! It’s our antidote against depression.