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Christ s Requiem Over John the Baptist

Christ s Requiem Over John the Baptist

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.



"And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribes
that Elias must first come ? And Jesus answered and said unto them,
Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you,
That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have clone unto
him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer
of them." MATT. xvii. 10-12.
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.



"And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribes
that Elias must first come ? And Jesus answered and said unto them,
Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you,
That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have clone unto
him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer
of them." MATT. xvii. 10-12.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 31, 2013
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CHRIST S REQUIEM OVER JOH THE BAPTISTBY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D."And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribesthat Elias must first come ? And Jesus answered and said unto them,Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you,That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have clone untohim whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man sufferof them." MATT. xvii. 10-12.THESE words were spoken while Jesus was comingdown from the Mount of Transfiguration. He hadbeen speaking to Peter and James and John of what they had seen in the mount. The unveilingof Christ s glory had quickened those Messianichopes of a visible kingdom which were nourishedin every Jewish heart. They looked forward to aday when the glory they had seen should be mademanifest to all men. An old prophecy rises up intheir minds. Every schoolboy had been taughtthat, before the Messiah should come, Elijah wouldagain call Israel to faith and holiness. In everysynagogue the scribes had underscored that prediction. The disciples had had their expectationquickened by the sight of Elijah. They put to256 THE SECRET OF THE LORDJesus the question, " Why then say the scribes thatElias must first come." I see Jesus turning tothem, and standing for a moment in silence. Theface of one He loved rises before Him. He recallshis brief ministry, his ringing words, his cleartestimony, his lonely martyrdom. Very softly Hereplies, " Elias is come already, and they knew
 
him not, but have done unto him whatsoever theylisted." That is Christ s requiem over John theBaptist.A requiem, in the larger meaning of the word, isa chant of tender regret for the dead, and a brief and simple tribute to their memory. Jesus hadalready pronounced his eulogium on John. WhenJohn was lying in Herod s prison, and had sent outhis bewildered cry, Jesus had passed upon him thatnoble encomium with its illuminating appreciation,ending in that word of high praise, " Verily I sayunto you, Among them that are born of womenthere hath not risen a greater than John theBaptist." ow when life is over, in briefer, morerestrained, and more tender speech, He utters thisrequiem. Let us listen first to the notes of therequiem, and in the second place mark itsmessages for our lives.I. In the first place, the notes of Christ s requiemover John the Baptist.The first note Christ sounds touches John s work.It was a childish interpretation of the scribes thatREQUIEM OVER JOH THE BAPTIST 257Elijah would come again. That interpretationdarkened men s minds to the real character of John the Baptist. The old prophecy was fulfilled,as the angels said, when John came in the powerand spirit of Elijah. The parallel between Elijahand John is so close that we wonder how the menof his time missed it. Plainly it was the rulingmotive in John s own mind. Elijah came girt withhis leathern girdle, living his simple, austere, andlonely life, drinking from the brook, and fed by the
 
charity of God. John came with his garment of camel s hair, finding his home in the wilderness andeating the food of its poor peasants. Both foundthe nation sunk in unbelief and indifference. Bothsaw, with the deep perception of men who brood inthe silence, how false to the faith and ideal of Israelwere the teachers of the people. Both confrontedmoral evil in high places. Herod and Herodiasare the ew Testament counterparts of Ahab andJezebel. Elijah quickened the nation s conscience,rebaptized its hopes, and left behind him a schoolof disciples in whose hearts the good seed of thekingdom had been sown. That also was John swork. Looked at from the outside, John s ministryhad been only a vivid and shortlived light. Judgedfrom one point of view, he had done nothing morethan stir a dormant people into a transient mood of repentance, expose the Pharisees and Sadducees byhis teaching, and rebuke them by his zeal. Themovement which drew all Judea and Jerusalem to17258 THE SECRET OF THE LORDlisten to him in the wilderness left no mark on themind of the people. But his was a word of God,and it accomplished that for which it was sent. Itrekindled hope and desire. It made men museabout the Messiah. It prepared a company of young men, Peter, and Andrew, and James, andJohn, and their fellows, to see the Christ when Hecame. The work of John also was to prepare theway of the Lord.The second note in the requiem touches John speculiar sorrow. " They knew him not." I ventureto call this one of the darkest shadows that can fallon any man s life. We all have those sorrows which

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