Monday, December 28, 2015, 5:50 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 11:1-6 (NIV84).
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 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. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Today, rather than going into a discussion as to why John the Baptist might have sent his disciples to ask Jesus this question, I believe, in this section, that I am to focus my attention primarily on Jesus Christ’s response to the question posed by John. I believe the purpose of Jesus’ answer was to encourage John and his disciples, and us, too, that Jesus is indeed the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God, our Savior and Redeemer from sin.
The Lord put in my mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” The message in the song describes the character of Jesus Christ, and prays that we might be like him in these various ways – in his humility, unselfishness, and servant heart; in his care and concern for the needs of others, and in his obedience to the Father; and in his love, mercy, kindness, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness, purity, meekness and concern for the lost sinner.
Jesus, in his response to John’s question, described for us the kinds of things Jesus did when he walked the face of this earth during his years of ministry. What he did, though, revealed his character, i.e. who he was, too. Jesus was a healer, not just of physical ailments, but of human hearts, of damaged emotions, and of sin-sick souls. He gave many people a new lease on life, not just in salvation and forgiveness of sin, but by healing their blinded eyes, and their deaf ears, and by bringing some literally back from the dead.
As well, Jesus Christ preached the Good News of salvation to the poor (destitute) in spirit, i.e. to those who were in need of salvation from sin. He told them that if they wanted to come after him that they must deny self, take up their cross daily (die daily to sin and self), and follow (obey) him. He said that whoever holds on to his own life (of living for sin and self) will lose it for eternity, but whoever lets go of his life (dies with Christ to sin), will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Jn 6:35-66). He told them they must repent of their sins, and he promised them forgiveness of sins, the release from the control of sin and Satan over their lives, and eternal life for all who believe in him as Lord and as Savior of their lives.
So, if we are to be like Jesus, which we are, then we should desire to be like him in his divine character and in his deeds. In the power and working of his Spirit within us we are being transformed into the image of Christ, if we are willing. So, it is just a matter of us yielding daily the control of our lives over to the Lord, submitting to his will and purposes, dying daily to self and sin, putting off the deeds of the flesh, and putting on Christ and his character and deeds. The Spirit of God will give us all we need to live holy lives for God.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.