Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“God is our Refuge and Strength, mighty and impenetrable, a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”
“I need an accurate view of God more than I need my problems solved.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And his (John’s) disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.”
“Furnace of Affliction” – Part 18
“I Will Tell Jesus”
“Out of every difficulty…let us in childlike confidence cast our burden upon the Lord.”
C. H. Spurgeon
What difficult situation in my life do I need to tell Jesus about?
How has Jesus helped me bear my trials in the past?
“As difficult as it may be for you to believe this today, the Master knows what He’s doing. Your Savior knows your breaking point. The bruising and crushing and melting process is designed to reshape you, not ruin you. Your value is increasing the longer He lingers over you.”
“To live by the law of Christ and accept Him in our hearts is to turn a giant floodlight of hope into our valleys of trouble.”
Charles R. Hembree
I admire people who in a few short words can effectively make a great big point. This is exactly what Matthew does in Matthew 14: 12, where with just four words, he so poignantly, conveys to us a story that should penetrate our hearts with great hope when we are faced with the fires of affliction. And frankly, this is exactly what happened to John the Baptist, when after faithfully carrying out the work God gave him to do, he was imprisoned and finally murdered by the despot ruler, Herod Antipas.
Our text today states that when this murderous event took place, John’s disciples, after lovingly burying his body, “went and told Jesus.”
These words touch me in a profound way for it can be easy to pass them over and ignore the depth of their meaning. So during the past few days, I have spent a great deal of time mulling this passage over and over again in my mind. I'd like to share several thoughts which have risen to the surface as I have rolled the words "went and told Jesus" around in my head.
First, I asked myself, “What propelled or motivated John’s disciples to go to Jesus?” At first, I thought, “Where else did they have to go?” Now, before you think this response rather trite, we need to remember that Jesus, Himself, asked His disciples, “Will ye also go away?” And the always quick to respond Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6: 65, 68). This almost pat answer, “Where else will we find the promised Messiah, where else will we find hope for our future,” actually paints one of the most phenomenal pictures of truth in the Bible. So in a mighty way, going to Jesus should be, to all of us, as it was to John’s disciples, the first place we would think of going when trouble strikes. I appreciate the way Matthew Henry takes these brief words and expands on the depth of their meaning. As he notes, John’s disciples went and told Jesus about the sudden death of their friend and leader, “not so much that (Jesus) might shift for His own safety. No doubt (Jesus) heard of it from others, the country rang of it.” What Matthew Henry concludes is something you and I might believe if we found ourselves in the position of having a broken heart and a dreary looking future in front of us. As Henry observes, John’s disciples believed that, “they might receive comfort from Jesus and be taken in by Him.” And then this student of God’s Word goes on to make an example from long ago, pertinent to the lives of individuals like you and me today:
“Note, when any thing ails us at any time, it is our duty and privilege to make Christ acquainted with it. It will be a relief to our burdened spirits to unbosom ourselves to a friend we can be free with. Such a relation dead or unkind, such a comfort lost or embittered, go and tell Jesus, who knows already, but will know from us the trouble of our souls in adversity.”
This brings me to a second point that is revealed when John’s disciples, “went and told Jesus.” While my first thought was borne from “what propelled them to go,” my second thought was, “What gave John’s disciples the assurance that when adversity struck, it was Jesus who would provide their comfort and solace?” My answer was given by Dr. Luke who lays out for us a background on why John’s disciples had such confidence in Jesus, especially during this time of immense trial.
We find in Luke 7 that John’s disciples, as well as John, himself, having heard rumors about all Jesus was doing, questioned who Jesus really was. Now for a minute, let’s put ourselves in John’s place. After fulfilling the mission to which he was called, what thanks did John get for all his hard work, living like a transient in the wilderness? I’ll tell you what gratitude gift came his way, wrapped in the sealed and stamped parchment of Herod’s envy and insecurity – it was a gift called imprisonment. By locking John the Baptist away, Herod apparently hoped to put a clamp on John’s mouth – the mouth that spoke out against the dishonorable behavior of Herod and Herodias.
For all his faithfulness, John was awarded the good-behavior medal of imprisonment! If I had been one of John’s followers and heard about all of Jesus’ miracles for “the multitudes,” I have to tell you, I might have wondered, “Why doesn’t Jesus, if He is who people say He is, do something for good old John. He’s part of the family. Isn’t he deemed worthy of at least some tiny favor in return for all of his hard work?”
It is at this point where Dr. Luke tells us that when John’s disciples arrived on the scene of Jesus’ ministry, instead of being met with proof texts and banners declaring, “I’m the One,” Jesus didn’t resort to argument or sermonizing, instead Jesus invited John’s disciples to spend a day with Him. Here’s how Dr. Luke describes what happened:
“When the men were come unto Him, they said, ‘John Baptist hath sent us unto Thee, saying art Thou He that should come? Or look we for another?’ And in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, ‘Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard” (Luke 7: 19-22, K.J.V.).
It is critical we do not overlook the fact that it was after John’s disciples had witnessed personally, the work of Jesus that they were able to sustain a blow to their hearts that did not knock them off their feet spiritually. This truth becomes the critical “takeaway” for you and me. When adversity strikes – when sudden affliction cuts away the foundation we thought we were standing on, leaving us to feel as though we are descending to our demise – it is the time we spend with Jesus before trouble arrives which sustains us once it hits.
No wonder John’s disciples headed straight to Jesus, choosing to tell Him all their woes. They had seen and watched. They had looked and felt. They had touched and noticed. Their trust in Jesus wasn’t built on what others had told them about Jesus – it was built on what they knew, personally, about Jesus. And so, when the unthinkable happened, when without warning, Herod’s blade fell on the neck of an innocent prophet, John’s disciples went to Jesus and told Him all about their troubles. They shared with Him the pain, the sorrow, the grief, the fear – and yes, they knew that their cries for help and healing would be heard for they had seen how Jesus cared for each of His children.
Today, as you face some grave health situation or a heartbreaking family fracture or a personal situation where words are impossible to help you express your confusion, do what John’s disciples did – they went and told Jesus.
“The harder the trial, the closer He moves toward you. Are you feeling crushed today? He is rushing toward you to stand beside you and help you.”
I Must Tell Jesus
“I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.
I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burden alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”
Words and Music:
Elisha A. Hoffman
“To the hurting, He is the great Physician.
To the confused, He is the Light.
To the lost, He is the Way.
To the hungry, He is the Bread of Life.
To the thirsty, He is the Water of Life.
To the broken, He is the Balm in Gilead.”
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you.”
1 Peter 5:7
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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