By this time, John the Baptizer was already in prison. This prison was not the kind of facility we have today. There were no televisions, video games, libraries, or meals. There were no work programs. Instead, it was more like a dungeon with rats, hunger, and isolation. It was a dangerous, horrifying place. His only crime was speaking the truth about Herod's unlawful marriage to his brother's wife, Herodias. John knew that Herod would eventually have him executed, but while he waited, there was plenty of think to think.
John's disciples visited him in prison, keeping him informed on events in the outside world. Every time the stories of Jesus spread throughout the country, the disciples shared them with John. He must have listened in amazement. Healing with a word. Raising the dead with a word. Could it really be? Jesus was his cousin. John had known Him all his life. Could His cousin really be the Messiah? John had been convinced about Jesus, but in those hours of isolation and self-examination, he needed to be sure.
The day he was born, John's father had prophesied "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, (Luke 1:76, 77 NASB).
John had known all his life that his God-appointed job was to prepare the way for the Messiah. He had lived in the wilderness and dedicated his life to knowing God and proclaiming His words. At the end of his earthly life, he looked back on those hard years of preaching and pointing the way to the Messiah. He had directed people to Jesus, and before he faced the Almighty in eternity, he needed to be reassured that he was right.
Much has been written about John's doubts of Jesus, but maybe the one he doubted was himself. John was only a few months older than Jesus. He was still a young man. Perhaps he simply wanted to face the hereafter with the confidence of a life well-lived and a ministry well-done. He was the forerunner for the Messiah. If Jesus was the Messiah, (and John thought He was) then John's work was complete, and he could die in peace.
Looking back on his life, his decisions, and his ministry were not, in any way, wrong. In fact, those are tasks we all should do from time to time. Periods of self-examination help us to recognize where we've pleased God and where we have not. They allow us to recognize the need for change and take steps to accomplish that change.
For today, spend some time in reflection on your life, past and present. Ask God to reveal what pleases Him and what does not, and pray for the will and strength to make the needed changes. Pray, too, that our loved ones will, in their own self-examination, be drawn back to the One who loves them most.
Link for last might's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/05/jack-is-back.html