The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"In the Shadows, Behind the Scenes, Under the Surface"
Affirmed by the Lord Jesus as a prophet without superior of those "born of women," John the Baptist nevertheless suffered a lapse of faith toward the end of his life.
"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 11:2-3).
John's imprisonment clearly threw a twist into his expectations of the Messiah. Like all Jews of his day, he anticipated Christ would come in power to rid Israel of the yoke of earthly governments devoted to the Jews' enslavement and destruction. That day will one day come. In His first coming, however, the Savior came "not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). John's imprisonment reflected the humble nature of his Lord's initial earthly advent that led to exasperation in John rather than expectation.
We still live in a dispensation wherein God's power is often revealed more secretly than openly. The blood of martyrs still stains earthly soil, believers still suffer in countless ways, and prisons both literal and figurative receive us no less than they incarcerated John more than twenty centuries ago. We still bear the cross rather than wearing the crown as "the sufferings of Christ abound in us" (II Corinthians 1:5). The triumph of the risen Lord Jesus proceeds in private more than in public. Thus, like John, we may sometimes be tempted to question our Lord's ways as we seem to linger in conditions and circumstances that belie the reality of His victory and Lordship.
As the Lord Jesus spiritually walks in us, the world will no more welcome and honor Him than it did when He physically traveled its treacherous paths. Moreover, the One who lived more than 90% of His life in obscurity continues to accomplish most of God's purposes in ways strange to human understanding. Thus, we all miss much of the great and mighty accomplishment fulfilled in the shadows, behind the scenes, and under the surface. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Yes, sometimes we languish in "prisons" from which we desire extrication when our circumstances actually shine brightly with the Light of God. If we could speak to John now, he would tell us, "Oh yes, the Lord Jesus was 'He that should come!' And that prison, and even the martyrdom to which it led, was God's blessed way in my life. I didn't see it well then. But I do now, and I give thanks." We will one day join John in such gratitude, and since we possess far more Biblical light than did our brother of old, we do well to remember our Lord's present working - in the shadows, behind the scenes, under the surface.
"We walk by faith, not by sight."
(II Corinthians 5:7)
"And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not!"
Weekly Memory Verse
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him."
(I John 4:9)