In John 1:29, John the Baptist declared of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John the Baptist also said of Jesus, “The strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:27), and, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14). John the Baptist recognized Jesus to be the Messiah and had faith in Him.
In our weekend services we are going through a series called Seeking. We are studying six different spiritual disciplines which help us to tune into the Holy Spirit and know better the heart of God. I don’t know one Christian who would come across disciplines such as prayer, service, confession, etc. and not admit that these have valuable places in our lives. As believers, we recognize the importance and perhaps even the power of these practices in our faith.
There have been times and seasons where I’ve practiced spiritual disciplines and I’ve felt that God wasn’t coming through. I was approaching prayer with an attitude that said, ‘I’m giving you this time in prayer, God, and I expect you to clearly do something in my life as a result.’ The trouble is that I had an idea as to how or what God was going to do. I had tunnel vision. The truth was, I had an end result in mind, and I was praying for God to match that. I felt that I was tuning into God. I was seeking Him. And, yet I still walked away unmoved.
I think I see this happen to John the Baptist, in a way. Jesus said this about John, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). John was the man! Jesus said so. John was the prophet and forerunner to Jesus himself. But look what happens a bit later into Jesus’s ministry. John is arrested and thrown into prison. It’s not turning out the way John had anticipated. The Messiah had come. Freedom had arrived! And John finds himself shackled to a prison floor. What the heck?! So, John sends his friends to ask Jesus an important question:
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” -Matthew 11:2
Did you catch that? Jesus and John were close. They held each other in high regard. John has heard about the miraculous and powerful things Jesus is doing and saying. But he has his doubts. There is a veil between John and Jesus and John is blocked from seeing the truth about Jesus. And I think that describes a lot of Christians today. We believe in Jesus, but we are disappointed, disheartened, and some walk away from faith altogether when Jesus doesn’t appear to be who we thought he was.
Jesus answers John’s friends: 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” (Matthew 11:4-6). Jesus was fulfilling what the prophets had said the Messiah would do. He is trustworthy. He’s the real deal.
Jesus’s answer to John is his response to our seeking as well: Go and see what God has promised in his Word to do for you. Read it. Internalize it. Then, seek God out and trust him to do for you what he has promised all along.
What expectations of God do you have that are working to veil your relationship with him? Are you only seeking him to do the things you want him to do or are you seeking to know more of his will, his mission, and his promises?
There is much happening at White Oak right now and much more that is coming. I want to be a Church who is seeking God’s power and His will to do the things he has commissioned us to do (help the poor and needy, make disciples, proclaim the good news, prioritize his passions, advance his Church, etc.).
Email me if you want to know more about leading others in a discipleship relationship, serving in our community, or serving other Christians in ministry.
Would you join me in seeking God in those things? Be aware. When you do the Spirit of God will move in and through you in ways that you might not expect. It will probably be uncomfortable. It will cost you something. Remove the veil.
White Oak Christian Church