Malachi said, “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” After Malachi God was silent for 430 years. Then suddenly John the Baptist, or more accurately John the Dipper, came out of the desert like a storm calling people to repent and be baptized. His dress, diet, and desert dwelling reflected the religious crisis of the day. His ministry was that of pointing others to the coming king – King Jesus
John was faithful to the end, for he saw Jesus as the Messiah and pointed others to him. He did not seek glory for himself, or seek to have others to follow him. He sought only to do what God sent him to do, and he was content with that ministry.
Today don’t we live in crisis times? Yes! Yes! Yes! Therefore, we need men and women to be like John. Trusting God so completely with their physical needs that they are free to concentrate on the task at hand; telling others about the coming king. Can we be a John in this world? Can we be just a nobody, telling everybody, about a somebody, who can save anybody?
Doing so in the Great Sonoran Desert,
An angel said to Joseph, “Get up … take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you” (Matt 2:13). In faith, without complaint, or question Joseph, “Got up,” and took his family to Egypt. Like Abraham, Joseph, “Went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb 11:8). Have you ever been told by God to “Get up?” What was your response?
There is an allegory of being in God’s hands is like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. Like the archer, God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but God continues to pull back on the bow, stretching and straining more and more. Straining more and more the follower of Christ says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; he goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly hitting the target unseen by the Christian.
What is the allegory’s lesson? The Christian is to trust themselves into God’s hands, though being stretched and strained to point of breaking; even to the point of being like Job who said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 3:10).
The Magi came to Jerusalem seeking the, “King of the Jews” (Matt 2:2). King Herod knew he was not the King of the Jews, for he was an Idumaen; a descendant of Esau. The image that arises is the struggle between Esau and Jacob; a struggle between the Godly and the ungodly. This struggle is played out in the three character types of Matt 2: The Magi, King Herod, and the Pharisees.
The Magi traveled a great distance to find the King. No distance, no time, or expense was too great for them to expend in order to find and worship at the feet of Jesus. The Pharisees were well schooled and expecting Messiah, but upon His arrival they were indifferent, for they would not walk 6 miles to Bethlehem to worship Him. Herod’s only interest was his grasp on power, and if he had to kill God in order to keep it, that was fine with him.
These images speak to us. We are either seeking to worship Jesus, we are indifferent to Him, or we are trying to kill Him in our lives in order to hold onto this world. We must ask this: In which character do we see our self?
Seeking the King,
Have you heard anyone say, “What our nation needs is for revival to come,” or say in prayer, “Oh that revival would break out.” I say this, “Revival is here, if we will have it.” I pray we talk no more about the indifference of our nation, and instead talk of the indifference of Christ’s Church to its own evangel; its own living power.
Why do we call on Christ to awake and bring us revival when He has never been asleep? It’s His church that has been asleep. Did not Christ said, “I’m with you?” Yes, He did! Therefore, revival has not come because the church has not been with Him. If Jesus’ Church would come to the realization of His living presence, then it would know it does not have to ask for revival, for He is already waiting for His church to arise and build. It is not true to say we need more of the Holy Spirit, but it is true to say the Holy Spirit needs more of us. It is in the realization of the nearness of Jesus that His church finds strength for all He is calling it to do.
In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ genealogy, besides Mary, four women are mentioned: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife. This inclusion is unusual for the Mid-East is patriarchal, but also each of these women had questionable backgrounds: Tamar played a prostitute, Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a Moabitess, and Uriah’s wife was Bathsheba who David had an affair with.
Despite their backgrounds each woman represents a crucial turning point in Jewish history. When Israel reached that crucial point it was a Gentile woman who displayed extraordinary faith in contrast to a Jewish man who lacked courage: Tamar versus Juda’s disloyalty, Rahab versus the desert generation’s faithlessness, Ruth versus Naomi lack of faith, and Uriah versus David’s sinfulness with Bathsheba. Yes, Messiah was to come through Israel, but when Israel’s unfaithfulness hindered the promise God preserved the promise through these Gentile women, and through God’s grace these women were able to share in the promise.
Jesus fulfills God’s promise to all people from all nations with the evangel of salvation. In Jesus’ ancestry we find the all-embracing love of God emphasized. Nothing can stand in its path. There is nobody who does not need it. There is nobody who is not eligible to receive it. There is nobody who can stop it.