Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Look For the Lamb"

     The same John the Baptist who unequivocally affirmed the Lord Jesus Christ as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" nevertheless questioned the truth when cast into prison at the end of his life (John 1:29).

    "It came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto Him, Art Thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Matthew 11:1-3).

    "The works of Christ" performed in humility and devotion to individual needs confused John, as it did most of the Jews.  They could not fathom a Messiah who came in meekness rather than power, failing to remember the many Old Testament prophecies that foretold and fulfilled the truth, "Before honor is humility" (Proverbs 15:33).  Particularly in John's case, this way of meekness led to imprisonment rather than the glories he expected.  Temptation followed, and the Baptist clearly succumbed to the degree that he sent representatives to question his Lord's identity.  "Do we look for another?"  The question must have stung the heart of the Lord Jesus, and He responded in the authority of Scripture: "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:5, as quoted from Isaiah 35:4-6).

    We can all identify with the temptation faced by John.  How often we perceive that the Lord should act in great power.  However, He sometimes seems to either stay His hand of deliverance, or work in a manner that apparently does not fully address our challenges.  As with our brother of old, we may feel imprisoned by our difficulties.  And, as with our brother of old, we may be tempted to wonder about our Lord and His ways.  We will likely not go so far as to "look for another" in the sense of believing that Christ is not the Savior.  We may, however, seek deliverance in ways that do not correspond to the will of God in Christ.  "Prisons" can tempt us accordingly, and we must expect similar temptations such as faced by John when the Lord Jesus acts quietly rather than in open display of His power.

    John forgot that he paved the way for a Lamb.  We may also forget that the Lamb's presence in us constitutes our present lot as "sheep for the slaughter" (Romans 8:36).  The Day will come when the Lord Jesus will openly and powerfully appear as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5).  All enemies will melt away in the glory of such deliverance and majesty.  This is not that day, however.  We still live in the age of Christ's revelation involving His "meek and lowly" heart, as revealed in His trusting children (Matthew 11:29).  We may see manifestations of power at times.  Most often, however, our Lord will work quietly and in such manner that can only be seen by the eyes of a Biblically illuminated faith.  Look for another?  Never!  We look for the Lamb, expecting the Lord Jesus to often appear in such manner, and expecting that He will honor us to walk as His sheep.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
(Philippians 2:5-8)
"They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."
(Acts 5:41)

Weekly Memory Verse
    The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalm 27:1)


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