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What Do You Do With Jesus - Monday, December 16, 2019?

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 11:2-6, where the Bible says,   

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 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.”

 

Timing is everything and that’s especially true when you are waiting for answers to tough questions, or when you are struggling with something that is beyond your control. I must confess, there have been times in my life where I wondered what God was up to. I’d be praying about something and it seemed to take forever for the request to be answered. Limbo is never an easy place to be, especially if you think the answers are long overdue. I think that John the Baptist was feeling some of this and more in our lesson today. He indeed was the forerunner of Jesus. He was called to prepare the way for the world to receive the Messiah Himself. John preached, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 3:2). But it didn’t unfold the way that John thought. Jesus’ first coming into the world at Christmas was to save it through the cross. The final judgment of the world would come later. John, in prison for being faithful to his calling, was struggling with Jesus and the way the kingdom was unfolding. John was in limbo, a man of the desert, now confined to a prison cell; he was a preacher of the coming kingdom of God now silenced in bondage; he was a proclaimer of the coming judgment, though the judgment seemed slow in coming. What then to do with Jesus amidst all of this? That’s the question.

All of us have times like this as well. We know that faith in Jesus means that life and salvation are ours by grace through faith in Him. Yet we struggle with doubts; we have our challenges and difficulties like everyone else. We wonder if the abundant life in Christ is real amidst the ups and downs of everyday life. The antidote for when one is demoralized in a dungeon of disappointment, the cure for when limbo causes one to slip into the cynicism of skepticism, is to look even more closely at Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3). John wasn’t seeing the whole picture, so Jesus sends word back to him as if to say, “Just look at what I’m doing!” Jesus was doing the things that the promised Messiah would do (e.g., see Isaiah 35:5-6). The miracles demonstrated His authority and His power. But Jesus final “miracle” would be the greatest proof of all that He was indeed the Messiah. He died for the sins of the world and rose again so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. That indeed was the full picture for all to see.

So, on this day, when we realize that even believers like John can have days of doubt, the answer to the question, “What should we do with Jesus?” is to take an even closer look at who He is, what He says, what He has done, and what all of that means to you. Put your faith in Him even amidst the challenges of the day. For those who put their faith in Him will never be disappointed or ashamed! (Romans 9:33).

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, in these weeks of preparation for Christmas, You call us to repentance, to see our need for You. May that repentance move us to receive all that You, the promised Messiah, have done for us, and then burst forth into praises that only faith in You can bring. With that, please bless us all. AMEN.

 

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