Day 75: March 16, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 11:2-19 Read Online
Luke 7:18-35 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

[John]…asked Him, “Are You the One who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.”

—Matthew 11:3-6

Are You the One?
by Steve Layton, Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

Times of crisis often cause pause and force us to examine what we sincerely believe about God. Ancient writers knew this as “dark night (of the soul),” a term commonly used in Christianity for a spiritual crisis in the journey toward God.

My “dark night” came when my first wife was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and was given only a few months to live. As a minister, husband, and father, I couldn’t understand why God was allowing this to happen to my family and me.

Like many who have also been in this situation, I sought out the best physicians, medical facilities, and experts in the field. I read everything I could get my hands on looking for answers. I begged and pleaded with God for healing. And at times, I wondered if He really cared about what my family and I were experiencing.

While cutting grass on an old John Deere lawn tractor, my soul finally became quiet enough to hear God speak to me. His question was simply this: “Do you trust Me?”

I pressed the brake, placed the tractor in idle, and said, “Do I trust you?”

Even though I’d asked Jesus into my heart at age 10, I again faced the question: Do I trust Him? I realized the eternal impact of my answer. If I couldn’t trust God to take care of my wife, my children, and me through this crisis, then how could I trust Him to take care of my soul for eternity?

With tears streaming down my face, I confessed, “I trust You. I trust You with my wife. I trust You with my children. I trust You with my life. I trust you with my future. I trust You—no matter the outcome!”

I made the decision to trust God in all things, and I’ve never looked back.

John the Baptist was in crisis. He’d called people to repent, and He’d proclaimed the Messiah was coming. He’d baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, heard the voice of God proclaim, “This is my beloved Son,” and saw “the spirit descend on Him like a dove” (Mark 1:10-11).

He’d been faithful to proclaim the Good News, but found himself in Herod the Tetrarch’s (or Herod Antipas’) prison, facing death. In the midst of this crisis, John sought out assurance by sending his disciples to inquire of Jesus, “Are you the one or should we look for another?”

Some of you may see this as doubt in John while others may see one whose life was shaken to the core as he sought affirmation of what he knew was Truth.

The Master’s reply was simple: “Go and report to John what you hear and see.” He wanted the disciples to tell John about His teaching, preaching, and the miracles they’d witnessed.

As I reflect on this passage, my mind travels in many directions. I’m first drawn to those in crisis who need assurance that Jesus loves them and is there with them. I wonder if we, as God’s children, are sensitive to recognize their fears, hurt, and doubt. I wonder if we’re quick to share what we’ve heard, seen, and know about God with them.

Secondly, I’m drawn to Jesus’ affirmation of John’s ministry. He was considered the greatest of those born of women because of his role as the forerunner of the Messiah.

But Jesus introduced a paradox to be revisited in Matthew 19:30: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Greatness in human eyes doesn’t equate to greatness in the eyes of God.

A different kind of yardstick measures God's greatness—the willingness to follow Him and yield to His Lordship over our lives. I often wonder how we see greatness and if we truly understand the paradox of the gospel.

Lastly, I’m saddened by the fact that so many reject the Good News. The Messiah stood in the midst of the people and they rejected Him—much like today where the Good News is being proclaimed and people still refuse to follow Him.

I sincerely long for people to know Jesus in such a way that they accept Him as Savior and Lord. I want them to know Him in such a way that His personality and deeds naturally flow out of them where they live, work, and play.  

If we’re Christ-followers, then we know Jesus is the One. Let’s proclaim what we’ve heard, seen, and know is true!

Reflection Questions

Ask yourself these things…

  1. Do I trust God?
  2. Have I experienced a “dark night” or spiritual crisis in my life? What did or is God teaching me through this experience? 
  3. Am I sensitive to those around me experiencing a crisis in their lives? Am I willing to tell them what I have heard, seen and know about Jesus?
  4. Do I have a healthy understanding greatness? Am I pursuing greatness in human eyes or in the eyes of God? Is my pursuit of greatness causing conflict or struggle in my life?

About the Author

Steve Layton
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Steve is a graduate of Samford University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), with a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership and Administration.

Over the last 29 years in ministry, he’s served in churches throughout Alabama, worked at LifeWay Christian Resources, and taught at NOBTS and Jefferson State Community College. And, currently, he serves as Discipleship Minister at Brentwood Baptist.

Prior to coming to Brentwood Baptist, Steve worked on a new discipleship philosophy that was later branded “JourneyOn.” This discipleship strategy has grown and now includes a home emphasis called “JourneyOn @ Home.”

Steve is married to Melinda and they have five children: Kristen, Matthew, Michael, Meaghan, and John. In his free time, Steve plays bass guitar, is a marine aquarium hobbyist, loves football, and is a bad golfer. His life objective is to “equip and encourage people on their journeys toward Christlikeness.”