By James Pender
(From ‘Counsel Magazine’ May - June 2000)
How the Lord Jesus Christ was introduced at different times and in various
circumstances is most significant. By examining this we discover how we in our
day can act as channels to introduce Christ to those around us. The world desperately
needs our Saviour and every believer needs to learn how best we can present
Him to the lost.
THE DECREE OF CAESAR
God is the Architect of human history. He uses “the powers that be”
to carry out His divine plans. We see this principle at work time and again
in Scripture. For example in Ezra 1:1, "Now in the first year of Cyrus
king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be
fullfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, that he
made a proclamation...” The actual movement of the people of God from
Babylon to Jerusalem was activated by the proclamation of a Gentile king.
In Acts 18:1-2 we read, "Paul.. found a certain Jew named Aquila, born
in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius
had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome)..." The meeting of Paul and
Aquila was the result of the commandment of Caesar, under the direction of God.
This same principle is seen at work in the incarnation: "And it came to
pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that
all the world should be taxed" (Lk. 2:1). At first, this might seem to
be irrelevant to the fulfillment of prophecy, but that decree resulted in the
movement of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in order that Christ might be born
exactly where the prophet Micah had said.
Both Christ’s coming into the world and His leaving were divinely appointed.
Those who plotted to kill Him said, "Not on the feast day." But God
had said of the Passover lamb, a figure of Christ, that the lamb had to be taken
on the tenth day of the first month, be kept for four days, and be killed on
the fourteenth day of the month. So the Lord was crucified on that very day
of the month. That was when His enemies had agreed not to kill Him (Mt. 26:5).
The believer today can recognise and take advantage of the world’s declarations
and decisions yet seek to introduce Christ as the fulfillment of divine prophecy.
THE MINISTRY OF JOHN BAPTIST (LK. 3)
The first thirty years of the Lord’s life are shrouded in obscurity.
We know very little about those years. However the time came when, in accordance
with the purposes of God, Christ should be brought into public service. John
the Baptist was the chosen instrument to bring Christ into view.
Isaiah 40 predicted that the coming of Christ would reverse the whole order
of things. This will take place literally during the Millennium (Zech. 14).
It is true now of all who are identified with Him. His coming into the personal
life, the home, or the company, reverses the whole order of things.
John, having prepared the way and having testified to the greatness for the
Lord’s public manifestation, of His Person, was eventually replaced, and
the Lord Himself takes the place of public testimony.
The change of lifestyle when a sinner is saved, and its difference from the
worldling, is a witness to the reality of the Lord and His work in the life.
This gives power to our public testimony as to who and what He is and what He
does to put away sin.
THE MINISTRY OF THE FATHER (LK. 3:22)
At the baptism of the Lord, the Father expressed His pleasure in His Son. God,
having spoken in times past to the fathers by the prophets, was now about to
speak to them in His Son (Heb. 1:1). The fullness of the time had come (Gal.
God spoke to His Son before His Son spoke to others. God always speaks to His
servants before He speaks through them. So the heavens were opened, and God
spoke to His Son. In our case, as His servants, God’s approval and the
consciousness that we are pleasing to Him is necessary before we engage in public
service. We must have private dealings with God before we engage in public service.
God never rushes His servants into His service.
The believer’s personal delight and pleasure in the Lord Jesus gives a
witness to the reality of His mighty ministry as the only Saviour, the only
One who is the eternal delight of the Father.
THE MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT (LK. 3:22; 4:18)
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in introducing Christ is seen in Luke 3:22
and 4:18. The Lord refers to this experience as His anointing for service. Public
service for God begins when one is sent by the Holy Spirit. We see this in Acts
13:4 in connection with Paul and Barnabas when we read, "So they being
sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed...
Christ was always full of the Spirit (never “filled”). Now He is
anointed by the Spirit in view of His service. We see the Trinity involved.
The Father speaks from heaven, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove,
and the Son is baptised.
The believer today can introduce the Saviour to the lost all around. This is
He who was anointed by the Spirit to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the
brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to
the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised. God cares!
THE PRESENT MINISTRY OF THE LORD (HEB. 8)
The anointed preacher of the synagogue in Nazareth has now become the Minister
of the Sanctuary in the heavens (Heb. 4). The sphere of His service has changed;
the spirit of it never changes. The service changes but the Person remains the
The sanctuary is where He ministers in heaven itself-the place where the majesty
and glory of God are displayed. "He hath looked down from the height of
His sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth" (Ps. 102:19).
A view from the sanctuary gives a true perspective on all that is going on in
the world. Asaph learned this in Psalm 73, "...Until I went into the sanctuary
of God; then understood I their end."
The writer to the Hebrews tells us about the kind of minister Christ is. "Such
an High Priest became us..." (Heb. 7:26). We are told where He ministers
-in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle (Heb. 8:2). We are told what He ministers-the
new covenant (Heb. 8:8). Then we are told the quality of His ministry-it is
"more excellent..." (Heb. 8:6).
The New Testament believer can introduce the Saviour as the better and the only
acceptable way into the presence of God-a better sacrifice for dealing with
sins and a mighty Deliverer from the burden of man's religions and their weary
ways of endless and hopeless religious endeavours.
By James Pender
(From ‘Counsel Magazine’ May - June 2000 Used by Permission)