2000-08-24 - Harbor Lights
John 1:41-42 He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter). (NAS)
Last week, I talked about not following me (Don't Follow Me - 2000-08-17). Tim wrote last week about those who are unreached with the Good News of Jesus Christ. (Unreached - 2000-08-15). I was asked by a perceptive reader, "What is the bridge?" Or, what is the connection between these two thoughts. I have to admit that I didn't catch the meaning of the question right away. How do these two thoughts tie together? How do those who need to know about salvation learn about it? The question holds true from those living in jungles undisturbed by civilization to the President of an international corporation in his Lear jet.
Andrew came to the sudden realization that Jesus was the Messiah. What was the first thing he did? He went and found his brother Peter and told him excitedly about Jesus. Peter was likely skeptical, but Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. In doing so, he was pointing the way for Peter to follow. It is unlikely that Andrew could have lived so well that Peter would have simply followed him. Andrew didn't say, "Follow me.", he said, "I know Who to follow." and pointed the way.
Acts 8:30-31 And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. (NAS)
The people of this world are like boats out on a storm. They have no compass, no maps, no direction at all or a direction of their own choosing at best. Even those who are seekers will need a guide at some point. They may know in their hearts that they have a need for a Savior, but may not know how to express it or what to do about it. We are the lighthouses that warn them of the rocks. We speak the truth in love, give of our time, talents and resources - motivated by the love of Christ in our hearts. We are also the lights on the rim of a safe harbor leading the ships to safety from the storm. We are to reflect the light of God's love, leading them to Jesus.
Philip became the guide for this man from Ethiopia. Jesus made it clear that this man was someone he was supposed to speak with. The heart of the seeker was open, but unable to make sense of what he was reading from Isaiah. When Philip explained the meaning of the passage pointing to Jesus, the Ethiopian believed and asked to be baptized. Philip pointed to Jesus.
John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (NAS)
There are others who are confronted by the loss of a loved one, a serious illness or other personal calamity that suddenly think hard about life, mortality and eternity. When they have questions, they will look for someone they hope can answer them. A Christian is usually high on the list, if they are approachable. Someone with a strong, compassionate heart that can offer hope is what these searching people are trying to find. This is the kind of heart that knows the beginnings of the depths of what they have been forgiven. It is a life that is a light drawing others to it where they will find direction and comfort.
To anyone we encounter we may be a light in the darkness offering direction or shelter. Sometimes we are a lighthouse warning of rocks or scholls. Other times we are the harbor lights bringing the ship in from the storm. We often do not get to see the ship to the end of the journey. In either case, it is Jesus' voice calling from the lights, "Come, follow Me."
Lord Jesus, Help us to reflect the light of Your love to the world in turmoil around us. As we do, please use us to direct them home to You. Amen.
Grace & Peace,