Saturday, May 19, 2012

Take the Truth and Run With It!

 Mat. 11:11- Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

 John the Baptist. Who was he?
Who was Jesus the Christ?

We read the Scriptures, and it tells the story of a woman in her old age, Elizabeth, who bears a son. John. And another, younger woman, Mary, bearing a son - Jesus - by the Spirit of God, who grows up in her care and they take similar yet totally differing paths. They share a destiny part of their lives. They are cousins. JOHN the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus, the Son of God, the son of Mary.

John grows up the son of a priest; his parents are old when he is born. The Bible doesn't really say if they are still alive when he goes into the desert and baptizes people for the repentance of sins at the River Jordan... but based on text, it seems they are gone by then. 

He eats wild honey and locusts; he wears rough-shod clothing and lives in the wilderness and likely the caves. He is Jesus' cousin.

Jesus, on the other hand, grew up in the household of a carpenter; he lived his early years on the run. Born in Bethlehem, raised the first few years in Egypt, and then taken to Nazareth to live while also traveling to Jerusalem for festivals. Three and a half years of ministry. Baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist... according to what the prophets testified in the previous centuries.

And this was a final interaction: 
Matthew 11:1-15  (NASB)
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive 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. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written,
Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12  From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 I don't believe John was unbelieving; I believe he wanted to be extra sure, knowing his life was on the line. He had SEEN God work in and through his cousin, Jesus. He had baptized him with his own hands, and witnessed God the Father speak that Jesus was indeed HIS SON, and witnessed the Spirit of God alight on him as a dove. It seems to me, and this is mere speculation, that John wanted his OWN disciples to become followers of Jesus when he himself was no longer alive... because John knew in his heart, this was the true Expected One! This wasn't another false messiah; it wasn't someone proclaiming to be who and what he wasn't. Jesus was indeed the One and Only Son of the Living God. He was Living Love Divine; the Star of David; the Alpha and Omega; the One Who created the universe and all within it! This was God in human form, getting to know us on a deeper level and sacrificing part of His own divinity, as it were... 

This was the Christ. The Messiah! This was what the whole world had been waiting for since Adam and Eve took a bite of pomegranate or fig at the behest of the serpent, covered themselves in fig leaves, and were booted from the Garden of Eden! This was the promised Seed... promised to Adam and Eve; to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the promised heir of David's throne. This was The One!

This was LIVING TRUTH! And The Bible tells us that once we know the TRUTH, the TRUTH will set us FREE! Jesus... set us free the day He went to Calvary; to Golgotha! We have already been set free. Whom the Son has set free will indeed be set free, but we have to ACCEPT that gift of freedom! It was for freedom our sins were atoned for by Him Who died on our behalf!

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Take that TRUTH and run with it!!!