Topic: Luke 7:20-23
Early in the ministry of Jesus, John the Baptist was hearing about a man who was creating no small stir around the countryside through his words and deeds. So John sent messengers to Jesus, saying, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" To which Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor" (Luke 7:20-23).
"Yes" or "No" would have been a much easier answer, but Jesus rarely gave easy answers. Instead, He answered the question of his identity with a statement of his miracle-working power and with concrete acts of kindness that made a big difference in the lives of common people. In other words, Jesus had references.
If someone sent a messenger to you and asked if you were a follower of Christ or should they look somewhere else, would you have any concrete evidence to point to as proof of your identity in Christ? Would you have any references you could give them?
I recently attended the fiftieth anniversary of a couple I've known for over thirty years. When one of the other guests, whom I did not know, mentioned that the husband claims I was the one who led him to the Lord, I was taken aback. I appreciated him deeply as a friend, and actually thought he was already a Christian before I met him. We talked a lot about faith and the Bible because I had studied it more than he had up until that time, and he loved to find out what I thought about things. But I must say it was a surprise to receive this news, although I received it with great joy and with a deep sense of gratitude that God did something that significant in someone's life through me. It made me realize I had a reference.
Can you think of any references? People you can point to that have experienced some aspect of Christ in you? I bet you do, and you may not even know it. It will be a joy and an encouragement for you to realize this.
And now that we are thinking along these lines, perhaps we would do well to cultivate relationships now that could become references for us in the future, not because we need them to get into heaven or anything like that (we don't), but because we all long to know that our lives count for something. Let's ask God today for some references, and ask that He might open our eyes to some we may not even know about that are right in front of us.
Who are your references, and how did they become so?