18 June 2009

A Better Messenger than John the Baptist

To the crowds gathered in the wilderness, John cried, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” His whole life’s work culminated in that phrase. After Jesus came and John fulfilled his duty of pointing others to Him, the Baptiser happily announced his retirement—“He must increase, and I must decrease.” The forerunner had faithfully prepared the way for the Messiah; the time had arrived for the attention to fall on Jesus.

We live on the other side of Christ’s life, yet our message and determinations are quite similar, though better informed, than those of John the Baptist. Our message still points out the glorious truth that God has provided for Himself a sacrifice for sin, Jesus, the one and only Son. Whereas mankind could in no way save themselves, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, and condemned sin in the flesh.

Our testimony is both factual and personal. We testify to the truth that God judged Jesus, Who had no sin, as a sinner so that in Him believers might be covered by His righteousness. And we testify of the power of God’s salvation happening within us; a message of personal forgiveness, personal reconciliation, personal transformation and personal glorification. Our words and changed lives bear witness to what Christ has done, is doing and will do for us. John the Baptist could only point with the finger toward Jesus; we direct people with the whole person. Each part of us bears witness, not one area of our lives misses Christ’s mark.

John contented himself in the knowledge that Jesus received the focus. We can and should too. A believer’s witness is about Jesus; not about how bad we were, or how good we are, but about how great and good God is to save us. The world will naturally seek to explain things in human terms, but one gripped by heaven’s hand of deliverance knows Who it is that saves and Who deserves the credit; Jesus the Lamb of God.

Our Lord Jesus told us who we are when He declared that we are His witnesses. We are world changers, left on earth to testify among our generation and in our neighbourhood the message of grace. One man, gripped by that truth, changed his generation when he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

And we can change ours by doing the same. In fact, we can do it better.