December 15, 2016

John 1:6-8 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

It has always been interesting that it was the Apostle John who wrote this about John the Baptist. I wonder if he felt a sense of kinship because of the name? In any case, all of the Gospels make it clear that what is said here is quite important, because a lot of people in the 1st Century thought that John the Baptist was indeed the Messiah. John himself denied it, but it had been so long since the Jews had had a genuine prophet of God that, coupled with the intense desire to be liberated from the Roman Empire, many people seized on John in their hopes and aspirations. The thing is, the better a representative of someone a person is, the more they look and act like the one they represent. As a genuine prophet of God, John spoke out what God was saying. He not only spoke truth to power, (which eventually got him killed) he was the furthest thing from politically correct. It is important for us to remember that every believer today is a representative of Christ. Paul uses the term, ambassadors. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Right now, with a new government taking shape in the US, the matter of ambassadors and other such representatives is in pretty sharp focus. Such people are of great importance! If we, like Paul, are Christ’s ambassadors, then we need to apply ourselves to be as accurate representations of Him as possible, not distorting Him or His message by our own weaknesses. Having said that, it’s also important to remember that we are not Him, any more than John the Baptist was. Our job is to present His message to the world so that people may believe in Him, not in us. As Paul famously acknowledged, we won’t reach perfection in these bodies on this earth. (Philippians 3:12-14) We are to walk humbly but boldly, knowing whose we are and trusting in Him rather than in ourselves.

This is a genuine issue for me. Some people put me on a pedestal, saying that “ordinary people just aren’t that good,” while others are so distracted by my faults they can’t receive what I say. Someone who is not yet a Christian trusts Cathy and me so completely that she has just offered us a huge loan with no legal guarantees for her at all. That is humbling! It is a constant battle for me to seek for people to understand that anything good they see in me isn’t really me, but Christ in me, and that He is just as available to them as He is to me. I am not to try to degrade my good reputation, certainly, but I must be very careful to point people to Christ at every opportunity.

Father, the legal secretary who is drawing up the paperwork for the loan is having trouble wrapping his mind around what is going on because he’s never heard of such a thing. I pray that everything that is happening would be a powerful witness to many, opening their hearts and drawing them to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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