Lesson Thirty Six


To receive this weekly devotional and other content for your spiritual renewal, subscribe to our new Renew Newsletter.

Memory Verse: Revelation 2:10
Further Study: Mark 6:14-29; John 4:46-54; Desire of Ages, 178-182;196-200; 214-225; The Bible Story, vol. 7, pp. 153-156, vol. 8, 22-24

As I write I’m awaiting the birth of our third grandchild—a little girl. She was due seven days ago, and each morning we awake with this strange blend of anticipation and disappointment that has become exhausting. Maybe you’ve been there, either with your pregnancy or someone else’s. This baby will come when she’s ready, but right now, she’s not doing what we would like or expect her to do.

The baby will come when she’s ready, but right now, she’s not doing what we would like or expect her to do. 

John the Baptist was born to a purpose. The son of elderly parents, they told him about his mission. His entire life was dedicated to being the forerunner of the Messiah. He was the plow that would prepare the ground for the seed that would be planted. John answered that call and faithfully called people to repentance.

Now John languished in a dark prison cell far away from the desert of Jordan with no one but a few remaining disciples. Their presence brought encouragement, but also doubt. Loyal to John, they didn’t think much of Jesus, because they believed He should rescue John. As each day passed, it was yet one more spent anticipating the release that never happened. The discouragement of the disciples was enough that John also began to doubt. Was his work done? Maybe this Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be. Maybe the real Messiah would come later. Concerned for his disciples, as well as to know whether his own life purpose had been in vain, John sent two of them to Jesus with a question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:19)

“Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 

Interestingly, Jesus heard the question but didn’t give them a response. He returned to the pressing crowd and continued to heal and comfort. When Jesus was finished, He turned to John’s disciples and told them to tell John what they saw. Then He sent His own personal, yet somewhat cryptic message. “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (verse 23).

It was enough. The report brought Isaiah’s description of the Messiah to mind, and John understood the message. Don’t become discouraged or leave Me if I don’t act in the way you expect. Jesus’ mission wasn’t what John thought it to be, but Jesus was doing exactly as He should.

Waiting and expectations are hard. 

Waiting and expectations are hard. As our family debates why babies don’t do what is expected of them, we still need to understand her arrival will be perfect, for it will be when God knows she and her parents are ready. Likewise, as things happen that are outside of our control or that seem completely unexpected and bewildering, we need to return to the Word—both the Bible and to Jesus. He may not be doing in our life exactly as we think it should be done, but it’s what is right. 

John gained peace that day even though his end was tragic. We, too, must stay with Jesus and be renewed.

Digging Deeper 

Mark 6:14-29 is unusually placed. This is a flashback to the story of John the Baptist told mostly from Herod’s involvement. It is here we read the account of Herod, Herodias, and Salome, which reads like something out of a base novel. And we discover that John the Baptist is the innocent victim of their sordid behavior. 

Note that this account of John falls between when the disciples are set out as missionaries and when they return to give Jesus a report. They go out as disciples, but return as apostles—the only time this term is used in the book of Mark. So why insert John’s grizzly death in between? Because it demonstrates the suffering that can come when one goes out as God’s messengers. 

The story of John is not simply a historical account. It informs us about mission. When sent out on God’s behalf, the mission is urgent. We are to tell others and do it quickly for it can be the whim of one person to close our opportunity. And it reveals that mission work can be dangerous. We may face rejection that extends to execution. This is not just a story about John, but it applies to us. We accept our mission understanding God will protect us, but there are times in this world of sin when Satan actively attempts to stop the spread of the Gospel, and the prospect of death can be very real.

Making it Real

What are you doing in the way of mission? Mission can take all forms; thankfully most do not end in death. Make a list this week of ideas where you along with your family could be involved in some kind of mission work, whether it be through making cards, visiting neighbors, raising money, or actively participating in a mission trip.



Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, born in 2023. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.


Subscribe to the Renew Newsletter to receive this adult devotional in your email each week!

* indicates required
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!