Exploring the Message Within...
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Part 3: ‘Get Busy Preparing’
The followers did not question John or wonder about loyalty when they were told to follow Jesus. John’s purpose was to prepare them for Jesus’ coming and so when Jesus came they were able to receive Him. Likewise, our Christian leaders are placed in such roles to prepare us so our hearts can be receptive and be ready for the Holy Spirit to enter. God then directs our path by the leading of the Holy Spirit. However, some leaders have fallen from grace and have stopped teaching the truth in its fullness. It is the ‘feel good’ gospel that people want to hear and so they cater to ‘itching ears’. But while leaders are falling from grace, God is still calling us to accountability and the reminder today is to ‘Behold! The Lamb of God...’
In order to prepare hearts for the coming of the Lord, leaders need to do some teaching so that those hardened hearts can warm to the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, and be able to make up their own minds to choose or reject the way of Christ. We cannot force the Gospel unto people. The Gospel is the Good News of Salvation which is free. We can share it with others but it is always a choice they have to make. To force the Gospel unto individuals is to turn them against the Word. Equally, people are kept in bondage when we present the ‘feel good’ aspects of the gospel and not make them aware of their sin—knowing the consequences of doing wrong and the blessings which accompany the choice to do right.
Leaders need to first prepare themselves by beholding the Lamb and teaching the people, under their leadership, to do the same. In declaring Jesus as the Lamb, John was accepting that his part on this journey is now complete and so his mindset was to decrease while Jesus begins His ministry – A lesson in humility which we all need to be reminded of as believers. Though he recognised the end of his ministry, he didn’t go: ‘Right that’s me! I’ve done what I was supposed to do now I’m off.’ No, having prepared his followers for Jesus’ coming, he pointed them to Jesus and told them that He is the One who takes away the sin of the world. That, in effect, means, “I John, is not the Messiah, I cannot take away your sin, my job was to tell you about Him who can take away your sin and now that He is here: ‘Enter His presence, Look at how He behaves and pattern His ways—follow Him.’” In other words John was saying:OBSERVE Jesus.
Neither John nor the many prophets of bible days were able to remove sin from the world. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has the power to do that. So take heed and OBSERVE His way. Follow His example and imitate Him.
John pointed his disciples to Jesus and told them that He is the One they should follow. From this I learned that leaders should never leave the flock without pointing them to the one who will continue the leadership task. Whether this involves training up the next leader or introducing the next leader to the flock, it is the current leader’s responsibility to make sure that the flock is not left without a leader or placed under the wrong leadership. There may be circumstances where this is unavoidable, such as sudden death or long-term illness. In such a case the flock would need reference to fall back on— the preparation that took place before hand. And that is why it is important for leaders to teach the flock. If the flock are prepared to recognise a true leader, they will not fall prey to the voice of an impostor.
******************** Exploring the Message Within consists of the following parts: