Chapter 22: Imprisonment and Death of John

February 14, 2007

“Had he been unfaithful in his mission, that he was now cut off from labor? If the promised Deliverer had appeared, and John had been found true to his calling, would not Jesus now overthrow the oppressor’s power, and set free His herald?” DA217

“How could He permit His faithful herald to be deprived of liberty and perhaps of life?” DA216

“To many minds a deep mystery surrounds the fate of John the Baptist. They question why he should have been left to languish and die in prison. The mystery of this dark providence our human vision cannot penetrate: but it can never shake our confidence in God when we remember that John was but a sharer in the sufferings of Christ.” DA225.

God is anti-death, anti-hate, and anti-sin. He is pro-eternal life, pro-love, and pro-righteousness. So why is suffering allowed to continue, and especially in the lives of those God loves the most? Ah, but there is the rub. God is not a bigger likeness of us, He dosn’t quantify His love like humans do. He always loves every person the most–and cannot love less. He loved Herodias as much as John the Baptist. Though He is just, God is not just like us only more so. His justice is the most because he cannot act against His character. This is hard to fully understand, but without spiritual recognition of the character of God, we will not be able to understand suffering and our faith is in danger.

The Bible spins suffering in the most positive light, and so does Ellen White. It’s honorable; even desirable, not of itself, but because it is the result of following Christ in a world where the natural laws diabolically oppose the nature of Christ. Concerning suffering,

“God never leads His children otherwise then they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.” DA226

Can this be serious! Contextually this means that John the Baptist would have chosen his lot of confinement and death if he had seen it as God sees it? Strange and wonderful teaching, and I pray I see this more clearly as I mature because, “of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.” DA227

I told you self dies hard.


4 Responses to “Chapter 22: Imprisonment and Death of John”

  1. Aunt Ruth said

    Was thinking this the other day re: understanding the mystery of God, especially when it comes to judgment and suffering and “how can He do that?” When Renee was about to be born I was concerned, wondering how I could love another child like I loved my first. But when they first gave me this tiny new baby and I looked in her face, I remember my actual thoughts: “What was THAT about?” because I immediately loved her. It occurred to me just this week that when we actually see God, especially when we experience Him administering the final judgment and see in the faces of the Godhead the combination of extreme grace and mercy and love along with justice and anger against sin….we will say “What was THAT about?” It will seem so “right” and so congruent, even though we probably will never understand it fully because God is NOT just like us, only more so, as you said. I could not understand loving a second child until I saw her, and we will not understand how God can do some of the things He does until we see Him/them. Happy Birthday, Nephew!! Love, AR

  2. Renee said

    (That’s because I was such a gorgeous child. 🙂 )

  3. wallygoots said

    I really look forward both experiences: having kids of my own and having preconceptions blown away by the presence of God.

    Nice thought family. Love Seth

  4. Carla said

    I really find the idea that “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see teh end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him” very refreshing! I don’t understand the wonders of God but like you said, having my preconceptions blown away by the presence of God is something worth the walk that I am on. I want to look into His face and understand how He could love me so much to allow me the tests I have gone through to have a testimony for Him. I can’t wait to look into His face and see the love He has for me.

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