Friday, May 06, 2022

The Vision (5.6.22): The Witness of John the Baptist


Image: Rhododendron buds beginning to blossom, May 2022, North Garden, Virginia

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 14:1-12.

“And [Herod] sent, and beheaded John in the prison” (Matthew 14:10).

What do we learn from the account of the martyrdom of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12)? Here are at last four lessons:

First: We must be willing to stand and bear witness for Christ—even at the cost of our lives. John provides us an example of this.

We must be willing to speak the truth, even if we stand alone, even if the truth is not popular with men. Yes, even if it costs us our lives. We must not slavishly try to tell men what their itching ears desire to hear (cf.  2 Tim 4:2-4). We must be witnesses for Christ.

Second: We must avoid the negative example of Herod and his house. We should not make rash vows. We should not use manipulation to control others. We should be guided by godly principles, and not expediency.

Third: We can learn from the disciples of John who went to Christ in their distress. See v. 12: “And his disciples… went and told Jesus.” Spurgeon: “When we are in great trouble, we shall be wise to do our best, and at the same time tell the Lord Jesus all about it, that he may direct us further as to what we are to do.”

Fourth: John was a great man, but Christ is greater. Both came as prophets, and neither were not honored but were instead put to death. John was beheaded; Christ will go to the cross. But John’s body remained in the state of death. His disciples placed his body in a tomb. But when the disciples of Jesus came to the tomb, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty.

I saw someone post a twitter poll last week which began, “If Jesus were alive today….” The problem with that line: He is alive today! And he is still bearing witness through his people to the reality of his death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorious second coming. All praise be to him.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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