January 4

Bible Reading: Matthew 3

Even in his declining health, my friend Leroy would drive his motorized wheelchair to the prom in Seaside so he could pass out Gideon New Testaments and talk to folks about Jesus.   But then, having loved and faithfully served Jesus in so many ways and for so many years, he came to realize that the time for his departure was drawing near.  He had but one request for me as we discussed a forthcoming memorial service: “Don’t be talking about anything I might have done, talk about Jesus, and above all else, share the gospel!”  He was always making much of Jesus that way.

John the Baptist was a man “sent from God” (John 1:6).  “He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through Him, He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light” (John 1:7-8).

He came to share the news of the coming of the Christ.  His ministry was utterly unconventional.  The religious leaders of that day sat “in the chief seats in the synagogues” (Matthew 23:6), John the Baptist “came preaching in the wilderness” (Matthew 3:1).  The Pharisees and Scribes espoused a religious of self-righteousness “(tying) up heaven loads and laying them on men’s shoulders” (Matthew 23:4), John the Baptist preached a message of repentance in view of the immanence of the “Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 3:2-4).  The leaders of his day richly adorned themselves with religious garb drawing attention to themselves, John the Baptist—akin to the prophets of old—had “a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt around his waist” (Matthew 3:4).  Those leaders loved “place of honor at banquets” (Matthew 23:6), John the Baptist ate “locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 23:4) in the wilderness.

Despite his unconventional ways (or, because of them) the multitudes were drawn to him.  “Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan” (Matthew 3:5).  Even the religious leaders came, only to suffer his rebuke as he sensed their hypocrisy (Matthew 3:7-12).  Amongst his followers were some who would later become Jesus’ disciples (John 1:37).

He came to “bear witness of the light” and that is a matter in which his example has direct relevance to us.  He was always directing people to Jesus (not to himself).  When the religious leaders sent men to ask, “Who are you?” he replied, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:19-20).  When they asked again, he affirmed his God-given role as a “voice crying in the wilderness (to) make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:22-23; Isaiah 40:3).  He spoke of the One who would come after him “whose sandal (he) was not worthy to untie” (John 1:27).  He saw Jesus and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Though he was born first, he spoke of the eternity of Christ in saying “He existed before me” (John 1:30).  When it came time for Jesus to be baptized, he hesitated, saying: “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? (Matthew 1:14).

He spoke to the essence of his ministry’s endeavor this way: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  He came to make much of the Christ, not of himself.  And that is the nature of the ministry of any good witness for Christ—to make much of Jesus.  

“The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing!” 

Dwight L. Moody

The main thing for any Christian is Jesus, and we do well in serving Him when we make much of Him.

We do well in our witnessing efforts when we make much of Jesus with our lips and in our lives.

There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear,
The sweetest name on earth.
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me!

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

One thought on “MAKING MUCH OF JESUS”

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