Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Church Meeting Devotions: Wild Thing

I’ve always liked John the Baptist, especially since my Sunday School teacher told me that my name derived from his. He’s been one of the biblical heroes of my heart. I like his wildness and courage, boldness and zeal; and sometimes, I like to live up to that kind of image in the ministry. However, John ended up being thrown in a dungeon and beheaded for his preaching, so maybe I should rethink my style!

He must have been a well-known person in his day because thousands of people came to be baptized by him. John played a key role by preparing the way for Christ’s ministry. Because of that, I expected Jesus to keep a place of honor for John in heaven. After all, without John’s ministry of preparation and baptism, how would Jesus have been received by the people?

But then, when I read Christ’s words, they puzzle me. Jesus says, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (Luke 7:28) Does He really mean that? Is Jesus saying that anyone who gets into God’s Kingdom will be greater than John the Baptist?

Wow! That really does turn things upside down for me! Grace is an amazing gift from God. John the Baptist does all of the work, and yet we end up reaping the benefits. It’s mysteries like this that make me realize how wonderful God’s love is, and how great Christ’s work of salvation has been.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your words are puzzling at times, and Your gift of grace humbles us. We know that we don’t deserve Your forgiveness, and yet we receive Your mercy. We know that we are unworthy of Your blessings, and yet You sacrifice Your Life for us. This is too much to understand at times, but it is also wonderfully reassuring. Thank You Jesus, for all that You have done, and for everything in our lives that You continue to do. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

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