Text: John 1:19-34
It seems strange to us, a couple of thousand years later, that in Jesus’ time there was confusion about who John the Baptist was (I like to call him John the Witness), and who the Messiah was, for that matter.
But I guess the Jewish people had been duped before by people claiming to be “The Christ”. And in fact, at Jesus’ time, the Essenes of the Qumran community (the guys who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls) were looking for two Messiahs: one political and one spiritual. And Orthodox and Conservative Judaism today are still looking for the Messiah.
Prophets are another matter. God laid out clear diagnostics for determining if someone was a prophet of God or not. Check out Deuteronomy 18:21 & 22
You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him (NIV).
Yet we still seem to have a problem with prophets today. I’m thinking of Jim Jones, leading a bunch of people to South American and getting them to drink the Cool-Aid. And David Koresh comes to mind.
But just this past summer (2008) there was a guy, a tattoo covered, multi-pierced, “born again, Spirit-filled Christian,” Todd Bentley, who claimed that God spoke directly to him and that he had met and spoken with Jesus face to face many times. Tens of thousands of people gave up their vacation time to go to Lakeland, Florida to be at his packed ”revival meetings.”
Bentley claimed to heal hundreds of people, sometimes yelling “BAM!” as he struck them on the forehead in his “laying on of hands.” He even claimed to have raised 12 people from the dead!
That was before he resigned his revival in August after admitting an improper relationship with a female co-worker. Bentley and his wife have since filed for divorce. (See the article in Christianity Today magazine)
Someone has said that those who gravitate to the dramatic charismatic outpourings of the Spirit’s power are going to be the first to accept the Anti-Christ. But I don’t think that they’re the only ones.
What do you think? Are we too gullible? Will we too easily fall for anything? The latest Christian fad or phenom? Or, on the other hand, are we so concerned about being duped (or maybe so jaded and skeptical) that we miss–or even deliberately reject–the obvious signs of God’s power and activity in the “circumstances” our lives?
In his contemporary classic, Experiencing God, (a quick must-read), Dr. Henry Blackaby writes that God is at work all around us. But we too often fail to see it, enjoy it, or give him the credit. What do you think?