John (referred to as John the Baptizer) was Jesus’ cousin and a couple of months older. John preceded Jesus in ministry, pointing people to Jesus.
John did his work admirably and without fault, albeit amidst criticism. He was eventually imprisoned because of what he said.
With all the amazing things Jesus did and the miracles he performed, you’d think that he would have freed John from jail. He could have, yet he didn’t. At least he could have visited his cousin, yet that doesn’t appear to have happened either.
So, John is sitting in jail, pondering his fate (he would soon be executed); his faith in Jesus begins to waiver. We know this because in what is likely the darkest days of his life, he sends his followers to Jesus, asking if Jesus is the “one” or if they should be expecting someone else.
John seemingly wants validation for his work and confirmation that his life of service to Jesus was not in vain.
Jesus replies, providing John with the assurance that he sought.
Sometimes God acts strangely, not giving us what we want or expect, but he does give us what we need—just like he did for John.