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"I write what I see, and it comes from the heart." .....Jon C. Randall
Mr. Jonathan, as he was usually called, eased his big frame into his chair, and then took a sip from the coffee cup that had its niche on the cluttered wooden desk. He started thinking of his past ten years at Augustus Theological Seminary* where he teaches, when suddenly; the jarring bell that announced the arrival of the first class shattered his reverie. The crescendo of thirty young men rose as they entered the room. Watching them file in, he felt the burden of responsibility to guide their young lives in discerning truth found in the Bible. Quickly, they took their seats, and the noise subsided.
"Good morning class," said Mr. Jonathan as he stood up, and then listened to the response from his charges. "Today, if you had studied the assignment, you will tell me what you have learned about the baptism of Jesus by John." Looking at the nervously intent stares of the pupils, he focused on a sandy blond, skinny boy, named Chris. After quickly assessing the youth in his mind, he asked, "Chris, please tell the class what you have learned from your study."
Chris, swallowing hard, stood up and fumbled with the pencil he was holding, as Mr. Jonathan sat back down at his desk.
"You see, sir," Chris stammered, "it all started when John the Baptist was in the wilderness of Judea preaching repentance, baptizing those who confessed their sins in the Jordan River. When Jesus arrived from Nazareth, Jesus wanted John to baptize Him. John tried to prevent it because he felt insignificant, wanting Jesus to baptize him instead. Jesus told John that to fulfill all righteousness, John had to baptize Him, which he did. After Jesus went out of the water, John saw the heavens open, and the Spirit in the form of a dove descend upon Jesus."
Chris, feeling more confident, continued. "As seen in John chapter one, verses twenty-nine through thirty-four, the Spirit in the form of a dove were something God told John to watch for. Also, a voice came out of heaven and said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,' which I remember from another book in the Bible." Proudly looking around, Chris then sat down.
As Mr. Jonathan leaned forward to rise out of his chair, up jumped Randy, who cried out, "Not so!" as a gasp went through the group.
Mr. Jonathan, leaning back in his chair, clasped his hands behind his head, and said, "Not so, what?" for he wanted to see where this would go. He knew that the red haired, hot-tempered Randy usually studied, was sure of him self, but jumped into things quickly without thinking clearly.
Defiantly, Randy stood there, eyes flashing, as he looked at Chris and said, "That is not what the Bible said. For the words heard were 'Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased'."
Chris, face flushed, quietly stood up and said, "Prove it, from the Bible."
All eyes were on Randy as he spoke.
"In Mark chapter one, verses nine through eleven; and Luke chapter three, verses twenty-one and twenty-two; tell of the baptism. And the words spoken from heaven are "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.' So you see Chris, you were wrong in saying 'This is' and 'in whom;' when the words should have been 'Thou art' and 'in Thee'."
"But I remember seeing 'This is'," exclaimed Chris.
"It's 'Thou art'," shouted Randy!
"This is," yelled Chris!
"Thou art," responded Randy.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen; let's have some order here!" proclaimed Mr. Jonathan, as he rose from his chair shaking his head. "Why, we have the seeds of two denominations right here, and a house divided will not stand, but fall! What may surprise all of you is that both Chris and Randy, are correct!"
Puzzled looks were seen around the class. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a quarter and held it in the air, and panned it to the class.
"How many sides are there to this coin, Chris?"
"And you, Randy, how many?"
"Both of you are wrong," said Mr. Jonathan, "for there are actually three sides! Please sit down Chris and Randy."
Silently looking around the class, Mr. Jonathan then continued.
"Diverse denominations; or religions for that matter; are formed due to mans narrow focus on what they perceive to be truth. If you are involved with, or partake in one narrow view, you become no different than a denomination of Scribes, Pharisee, or Sadducee, whom persecuted Jesus or His disciples when they walked this earth. They persecuted because of their denominational views, their hardened hearts, and the threat of loss of power, or prestige. The same can be applied to the denominations, or religions, of today."
"Applying this to this coin I hold before you," as Mr. Jonathan pointed to one side of it, "one side of the coin is Chris's view of that baptism from John the Baptists' perspective. Chris is correct, as also seen in Matthew three, verses thirteen through seventeen, that John actually heard God say 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.' God's voice, was directed, to John's hearing."
Then Mr. Jonathan turned the quarter over to show the other side. Pointing to this side, he continued.
"On the other side of this coin, is Randy's view, who saw things from the perspective of Jesus' view of that baptism. God's voice, as you have heard from Randy, was directed to the ears of Jesus for His hearing. And now, we come to the third and final side of the coin."
As Mr. Jonathan held the quarter so that the edge showed, he pointed to that edge as he panned it high for all to see, from one side of the class to the other. Then he continued.
"Looking, you will see a thin edge, or narrow band, that lies between the other two sides, that joins them together. This narrow band is truth, and can be seen more clearly after searching and understanding both sides shown. What is really transpiring here, gentlemen?"
Silence met his question.
"It is the power of God shown here, or more precisely, the power of His living word. During that baptism, the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove once, and God spoke only once, yet His word is so alive, that it rendered the appropriate meaning to he hearer of His word, in accordance to His will. You must study His word in its entirety to allow God's voice to speak to you in accordance to His will."
Then with a pause, Mr. Jonathan said, "His voice, is in His word!"
Once again the jarring bell rang, announcing the end of that class. After they left, Mr. Jonathan sighed as he sat back down. Taking another sip of his now cold coffee, he looked out the window at the December clouds swiftly moving by, as he waited for the next class.
© Copyright Jon C. Randall 1994
-All Rights Reserved-
* Fictionalized name as well as student's names.
A JOSHUA COMMUNICATIONS ARTICLE!
THIS CHAPTER WAS TAKEN FROM MY BOOK:
FROM A SIMPLE SERVANT
JON C. RANDALL
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