Christ versus Religionby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Matthew 3 relates to us the principle of the introducing of Christ—this also is absolutely outside of religion. John the Baptist was the one who recommended Christ to the people. He was born a priest, but he would not remain in the priesthood; he would not stay in the temple or even in the city of Jerusalem. We read that he was in the wilderness. He stayed in a wild place, and even he himself became wild. He wore camel’s hair. The camel, according to Leviticus 11, was an unclean animal. But John said in effect, “You say, according to your religious regulation, that the camel is unclean. Then I must be such a camel!” What would you say? John acted in a way radically opposed to religion. Consider his diet. He ate locusts and wild honey. He had no religion, and he had no culture; he was versus religion, and he was versus human culture. He was not in the temple. He had no altar to offer sacrifices; he had nothing related to religion or even to human culture.
Not long ago in Los Angeles a brother came to the meetings wearing a blanket. This blanket was a real test to some of the people. But John the Baptist wore camel’s hair. The blanket was cultured, treated, and made with human hands, but the camel’s hair worn by John the Baptist was absolutely raw. He was wild; he was really wild. This was the pioneer, the forerunner, of Christ. It was he who stood there and, seeing Christ coming, exclaimed to the people, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” It was he who said that he saw the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and abiding upon Christ, and he knew that it was He who would baptize in the Holy Spirit. What can we say? He said nothing about the Ten Commandments. He gave that up. He said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” He pointed to the One who would baptize in the Holy Spirit, and he said, “Repent.” John did not teach people about religion—he called on them to repent, to change their mind, to change their concept about religion and culture. He did not tell them to do something; he baptized them, he buried them, he terminated them. John said, “I baptize you in water,...but He who is coming after me...will baptize you in the Holy Spirit” (v. 11).
What would you say? Jesus was recommended in such a wild way. Would you believe? Would you take it? He was recommended by a wild person in a wild way with nothing to do with religion. Hallelujah for John the Baptist! He was really good.
Matthew 4 tells us that after Jesus was introduced, there were some dear ones who followed Him. Who were they? The high priests? The scribes? No. They were Galilean fishermen. Some were fishing in the sea, others were mending their nets—they were unlearned people, but they followed Jesus. They began to follow not in Jerusalem, not in the temple, and not even in the Holy Land, but in Galilee, a place then considered as “of the Gentiles” (v. 15).
You see, the birth of Christ, the finding of Christ, the introducing of Christ, and the following of Christ were entirely apart from religion. Then, hallelujah, Jesus came: He not only came in His birth, but He also came of age; He came forth to minister; He presented Himself to the people. He was there; He came to the people; there was no need to go and find Him.
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