Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Good people ask the same question the Pharisees asked long ago, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" (John 6:28). Israel was obsessed with that idea, and they promised God, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do" (Ex. 19:8). That promise, made at Mount Sinai, was the "Old Covenant," and it bound Israel to legalism through most of their history until finally they crucified their Messiah.
But God has always had a better way--the "New Covenant," which is not the promise of the people, but the one-sided promise of God. It's not a contract or a "bargain" He makes with us. He promises to write His law in our hearts, and our part is to believe His promise. But the Old Covenant/New Covenant tension still exists today, and the inherent legalism in the immensely popular Old Covenant discourages and confuses multitudes, both in and out of the church.
Instead of our concentrating on what we must do, God asks us to look and see what He has done, and is doing. He taught this lesson to the people in the wilderness--"when he [the one bitten by a serpent] looked at the bronze serpent, he lived" (Num. 21:9). Jesus said that "serpent" represented Himself (exactly backward, we would think!), and our continual "perishing" will come to an end if we "look at" Him as a "serpent lifted up" (John 3:14, 15)--a Savior "made to be sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21).
"Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!" He says (Isa. 45:22). John the Baptist agrees, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Jesus says, "If I am lifted up [for all to see Me] ... I will draw all peoples to Myself" (12:32).
Paul saw his mission to turn people's ears into eyes and "to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery" (Eph. 3:9). John says, "Behold what manner of agape" (1 John 3:1--that's a refreshing sight to see!). Even Pontius Pilate preached one unforgettable sermon: "Behold the Man!" (John 19:5).
Here's Good News: "a great reformatory movement" is coming, for God "will pour on [His people and leaders] ... the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced" (Zech. 12:10). Behold that sight and you can never be the same lukewarm person!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 4, 2001.
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