Thursday, September 19, 2013

John 1:6-8 Prepare ye the way, Part II

One thing that I noticed as I wrote yesterday's post, was how many of the scriptures that I added, were made into glorious songs by Handel. Many years ago I had the privilege of singing in a choir that presented Messiah, and the soaring music and uplifting words have stayed with me all these years.

To this day, I can hear in my mind and hum or sing almost all of the solos and choruses. I know, I know, I'm rather strange. (Grin)
But George Frideric Handel set about telling a story in 1741 that John the Baptist, John the apostle, the prophets, and many more have told and retold. In his own way, he was bearing witness to the Light, just as John the Baptist did:
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

We studied yesterday the ways that people bore witness to the coming of Jesus before He came. Now let's look at how people did that, after He came.
Let's dig in!
First, the disciples of Christ -- their unity with one another bears witness to the light.
20 "I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, 21 that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one -- 23 I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one, and the world thus realize that you sent me, and that you have loved them just as you have loved me.  (John 17:20-23)
So, when we show unity with one another, we bear witness to the fact that Jesus was sent by God the Father, and that God loves the world.  Hmmm, that should make us think about what our Lord feels like when He sees congregational divisions and conflict . . .
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. (I Corinthians 1:10)
Secondly, the transformed lives of the disciples and the early church -- and of people today, all bear witness to the light. Our lives being transformed shows the influence of Christ:
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18)
His truth teaches us how to live in righteousness and holiness, and and enables us to shine, reflecting His light in our lives:

So that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky...  (Philippians 2:15)
Lastly, the disciples (and our) proclamation of the Word bears witness to the Light. It's our privilege and our duty to spread the gospel, to "prepare the way" so that others can see that Light of Christ's love.  
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (I Peter 2:9-10)
How little use we are, if we remain silent! How useful we may be, if we proclaim His praises and bear witness to His light!


Belinda said...

As mere humans, it's really hard to stay "in unity" as a group of believers. Just look at the division these days between Christian liberals and conservatives. It's mind boggling. We can do it though, if we stop focusing on ME and focus on HIM.

The unsaved are supposed to be able to look at us and see the light of Christ in us. How much do we disappoint God, when we act like those without Christ do? Speak like they do? Stand by silently while the devil causes trouble?
Not a pretty picture....

I got to sing part of The Messiah once too. It gave me chills. :)

Austin Towers said...

I love Handel's Messiah. I sang it in French once!

It is very difficult when we talk about unity. Real unity can only happen when we look to Jesus through His Word. We have to be careful we don't mistake unity for compromise when it comes to truth. Such a difficult thing when we, as humans tend to want to nit-pick at the inconsequentials!