Summary: We must be possessed of these three inner qualities if we are to promote Christ in a God-honoring way.
John the Baptist
Encountering Christ in the Book of John #1
Imagine with me for a moment that some great and dreadful disease was sweeping the world today – a disease much like SARS that could be easily transmitted from person to person, and that people were dying by the thousands as it spread from one person to the next. At first it seems as though nothing can stop it in our mobile society. People are in a panic; afraid to talk to neighbors and friends for fear of who might be infected, scared of what has been contaminated at the gas pumps or in the grocery stores, worried about when an antidote will be found. As people travel on bus and plane from city to city and from nation to nation, this disease overwhelms the world.
Finally, after hundreds of thousands of people have died and many more are ill, a cure is discovered. It is manufactured and shipped around the world, but a new problem arises. How will the word get out? How will they let the entire world know they’ve found a cure? Maybe it won’t be so difficult in densely populated areas, but what about rural areas and third world populations that have been infected? How will they know what to do so they might live?
Can you imagine a whole sector of society running to the doctor for the cure, then returning home and resuming their former lifestyles, assuming that someone out there will be compassionate enough to tell the rest of the world? Could you imagine a group of doctors meeting and deciding that if they could just raise the funds to build new clinics around the world people would know to come to them for a cure to a disease that is killing them off?
Does all this sound far fetched to you? Then let me tell you about a story that really did happen, one that you’ve heard before. It seems that the Israelites were moving along on their way to Canaan when God determined to punish them for their complaining. He sent a great number of poisonous snakes into the camp that began to bite the people and they began to die. Moses saw what was happening, so he cried out to the Lord to reveal a cure. The Lord answered his request and gave him the antidote. Now, at that moment, Moses was in a very important place. There he was, standing there looking out over 2 million people who were dying left and right, and he alone had the cure for their sickness. He had but one responsibility to those people in that moment that welled up inside him – “I must tell the good news!”
Now I want you to consider the opening verses of John 1. Let’s start in verse 4.
“In him (Jesus) was life; and [Jesus] was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”
What is John describing here? He’s describing a world that was engulfed in darkness, a darkness that was black and wicked. It was a darkness in which there were none who were good, not even one. There was no one who was seeking after God, but every man had turned away after his own wicked and sinful lusts. It was into this world that God sent Jesus, the light of the world. John would state in John 3:17 that…
“God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
What’s the point of all that? God sent Jesus into a sin-infested world as the cure, the remedy, the prescription for man’s problem. Remember Romans 6:23? “For the wages of sin is death! But the gift of God – the prescription of God – is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!” God sent Jesus to cure mankind of his deadly disease, but because men love darkness, they love their sin and are blinded by pride and blinded by Satan, they don’t understand that their greatest need is Jesus Christ.