John 1:19-34; 1 Chronicles 7-8; Zephaniah 3
There’s an old Hindu fable about 6 blind men experiencing an elephant for the first time. Each of the men touches a different part of the elephant and then describes what the elephant is like to the others. Their descriptions differ, naturally, because they each touched a different part of the elephant. As they each tried to make sure that the other 5 knew what an elephant was like, an argument rose until someone came along and asked what they were arguing about. Each of the blind men made their case for what an elephant was based on their observations. The stranger listened and then told them that all of them were correct. Their differences were based on their perspectives.
Perspective is important when looking at the world. As everyone strives to paint their picture of the world on the minds of those around them, shouting matches and riots occur. While it’s not true that all views are equal, some are repugnant, it’s always true that violence is unacceptable. Perhaps you could make an exception for self-defense or the defense of others. One key to developing a culture of peace is listening to what the other guy has to say. Every repugnant view is expressed by a human being that Jesus Christ died for. The most important key, though, is to keep our eyes on Jesus as we talk. If we focus on how wrong they are, nothing will be solved. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29)
John had a job. He described it as preparing the way of the Lord. He did that by calling people to look at their own ugliness, their own sin, and repent. He knew that he lived in a world that was separated from God because the people of this world chose to do things their own way instead of God’s. So his message of repentance was a clarion call to the Jews of his day, and people thronged to hear him. Many thought he was the Messiah, and he had to deny that, promising one greater than he would be coming. Then Jesus came and John told them to change their perspective. No longer were they supposed to look into their own hearts, they were to look at the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. They were to stop looking at the ugliness of their own human nature, and see the beauty, the glory of God, in the person of the Lamb of God. In the last few weeks we’ve seen a lot of the ugliness of human nature on display. The cure for that evil will not be found in focusing on the bad things they say and/or do. If we want to end the hatred, we need to change perspective and focus on, and live for God.
Today step away from the sinful. Change your point of view and focus on God. Experience the beauty of His creation. Revel in His presence. Then, share that joy and beauty with others. As followers of Christ, we are called to show others this refreshing, grace of God. We are not to get mired in any mudholes of hatred or violence. We must show the love of Jesus to all people. Someone said, “We’re allowed to hate anyone that Jesus didn’t die for.” With apologies to my hyper-Calvinist friends, that brings the number down to zero. Most people aren’t very easy to love. They spew hatred. They impose their beliefs on others by force. They abuse others. They have one thing in common with all other people, though, and that’s the truth that they need to know Jesus. When we see people mired in these mindsets of sin, our natural reaction is to be repulsed. We may even think that they’re beyond hope. No one is beyond the love of God, though. As dark as their world may be, we can only drive out the darkness with light, to paraphrase Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To those mired in the darkness of their sin we can only hope to change their perspective and say, “Look at the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Lord, You are the only hope for our world. Take away our sin and darkness and replace it with Your light.