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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

reflection on John the Baptist


The Old Testament testifies to the coming messiah (Saviour). Jesus appeared as the perfect embodiment of the truth, which he illustrated in His own sinless life. We see slow deliberate clues in the early Old Testament turned to specific promises later on that a messiah would come to deliver the Children of Israel through a final sacrifice in which all mankind would benefit (Isaiah 49:6)

...then John the Baptist arrives into history..

What’s interesting to see in John ch1 is that John the Baptist’s mission was his identity. He deflected all attention from himself to Jesus. He refused to allow anyone to acknowledge anything about himself except his message. He ate locusts and honey, he lived rough..his physical appearance was so different to the expected prophesied messenger referred to in Isaiah 40:3-5

Erwin McManus puts it this way in his book The Barbarian Way:

“John’s faith was raw and untamed. There was nothing civilised about him….If you were looking for a reed swayed by the wind (someone easily moulded by the expectations of the civilised) or a man dressed in fine clothes (someone to impress the political or religious elite), you were looking in the wrong place. But if you went out to see a prophet, John was your man. And he was more than a prophet. He was the one whom God chose to prepare the way of the coming of His Son. Of all the men born of women- and that pretty much covers everybody but Adam- John was the greatest. Jesus by the way was born of God. The assumption was that for such a job, God would choose someone with polish and refinement.

Jesus wanted to make clear that the greater the kingdom responsibility, the more barbarian is required. But then He added something that opened a floodgate of possibilities for the rest of us. Jesus said “Yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” Matthew 11:11

Question: If you were to remove your Christian witness to unbelievers, how different would your life be? Do the people in your life (sphere of influence) know you are a believer/follower of Christ/Christian?

Reflect: Today ask the Lord for a single opportunity to have a conversation that is directed towards Jesus. Seek a John the Baptist opportunity to engage someone in a life challenging moment.

Read: 2 Cor 14b… “…and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him”

Pray: Make a personal list of 3 people who during a week you meet and sometimes strike up a conversation. Seek to know the right words to say to them that engages and provokes their need of Christ.

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