June 15, 2020
The Next Language 22 — John the Baptist and the New Normal
Yesterday morning I was reading the story of John the Baptist (Matt. 11) questioning Jesus from prison via his emissary disciples as to whether Jesus was the Messiah, or should they look for another?
For those of us familiar with the entire Gospel narrative this would seem strange. John and Jesus were full cousins and I have no doubt that they both grew up hearing of their mothers’ prophesies both about themselves and about each other. Those may not have been direct conversations, but we boys know how mothers talk with other women about the details of childbirth and certainly even more about the supernatural aspects of both the births of John and Jesus.
John knew he was preparing the way for a new era involving his cousin Jesus and that was further confirmed when He was baptized and John saw a dove and heard the voice of God saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” He had announced Jesus as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (Proof he had heard his mother’s and Aunt Mary’s prophecies).
So, why – only a few months later – was John questioning whether Jesus was the Messiah?
For one thing, John was in prison and apparently ignored by Jesus. He himself had said that “He must increase but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). But like this??
Also (and I think this is primary) Jesus was not acting like the King/Messiah everyone was expecting and desiring. It even fooled the scribes and the Pharisees who were deep into the Scriptures. I think that where John was sitting, as it were, between two ages is not unlike where we find ourselves today. He could not have known that the definition and function of the physical temple as introduced by God Himself was going to end, as was the entire sacrificial system. Even the Law which up until then was a minimum standard was being translated into an all or nothing commitment to perfection. How could he have known that the Kingdom of God would be an upside-down kingdom where the least were greatest, and death was the reward for faithfulness?
I have a feeling that what remains of the age of grace or the church age is going to be radically different to what we have experienced to date. Has the spirit of lawlessness been released? We are daily seeing sights in our own free country that we would not have dreamed of even a year ago. Is God done with America? We can see things falling into place for a one world government and monetary system and even religion that could transpire in a matter of months instead of years. Is the age of “go-driven” missions over? It is certainly on hold right now. Is Jesus’ return soon? Or should we get ready for the tribulation? Don’t these honest questions sound a little like John the Baptist’s question?
We were lining up recordings and training in Mexico for September and I am told that the roads into those areas are blocked with mountains of gravel to prohibit access. What is the missionary to do?
One thing we must not do is despair. Looking back at John, in spite of his gory personal end, God was on schedule. The gates to the Kingdom of God were swung open by the ignominious death and glorious resurrection of His Son. We must hope in faith and run with endurance and never give up. We must have our eyes open and our ears hearing clearly to enter into new paradigms opening before us. We must fearlessly and obediently step up and finish the race. At the finish line -and probably not in the too far distant future- we will be worshiping with every tribe and tongue and nation in a new heaven and a new earth. I believe that like a real life marathon the last lap will be a sprint and the harvest will be great. My prayer is that we are positioned to efficiently and effectively reap the harvest.
Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director
Global Recordings Network USA
P. S. As a “thank you” for your continued support of the ministry of Global Recordings Network USA, and in celebration of over 80 years of God’s faithfulness, we have compiled a collection of 80 daily devotions written by GRN founder, Joy Ridderhof. You may read or download your copy of Rejoice Always – 80 Devotions with Joy Ridderhof here.