Prayer Focus: Phillipines

Bible Reading: Matthew 3, Mark 1:1-11, Luke 3; John 1:15-34

Scripture:   19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1:19-35)

29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’  (John 1:29)

18 So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. 19 But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done, 20 Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. (Luke 3:18-20)

Observation:

John the Baptist is clearly in the spotlight in these passages. The Paparazzi appear to be alive and well in his century, just like ours. Whether he wanted to be or not, John TB was news. Here, we see John, on the center stage of history, surrounded by people who wanted to keep him in the spotlight, to keep their attention focused on him, to make him the story. Despite the  intentions of the crowd and pharisees that came with questions to the people on the banks of the Jordan who were wondering and expectant, John refused to be mistaken for the Messiah, Elijah or the Prophet and when given the opportunity to speak for himself – instead quoted from Isaiah. One thing is for sure, John never lost sight of his role or his purpose – to make ready the way of the Lord. In fact, he did so, even though he ended up in prison.

Application:

I don’t know about you, but center stage is not the most natural or comfortable place for me to be. The challenge is when the spotlight is right where we need to be – so that we’re in the best position to show the way to God. What I see in John is someone who was willing to be obedient in all things in order to glorify Jesus. He was willing to take center stage, and he was willing to step aside. Whether you are on stage or behind the scenes, what do your actions reveal? Who are you pointing to?

Prayer

Father, help me to keep in step with the Spirit. Help me to be so in tune with Your heart that I courageously go where You lead, and do what you instruct, daily. Help me to recognize Your voice and to obey. Help me to know when to speak boldly, and when to love, when to show compassion and when to stand firm. For Your Glory, Amen.

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