A Voice in the
Wilderness

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                           *** PORTIONS ***

Re: Witness is effective

"And in Antioch some among the existing church were prophets and
teachers: both Barnabas and Simeon...and Manaen the foster brother of
Herod the tetrarch, and Saul." (Acts13:1)

What a "boring" little verse! Just a list of names. Well, notice
"Manaen". Notice 'who' and 'what' he is. Foster brother of Herod. Who
was Herod the tetrarch? One and the same who imprisoned John the
Baptist, and ultimately had him beheaded. (Lk3:19-20, Mk6:27-28)

But notice a couple things about John's imprisonment. He was imprisoned
because he had been "judgmental" against Herod. He had "pointed
fingers, setting himself up as judge". How? He -dared- to suggest to
Herod that it was not right for Herod to be sleeping with his brother's
wife. (Mk6:18) See what happens when you put your nose into other
people's business?! 'If -they're- happy, and not hurting anybody else,
what business is it of yours to meddle?' Well, John "left off 
preachin' and went to meddlin'." And he ended up in prison. Well, there 
goes John's ministry. See? If he hadn't been so high-n-mighty with 
Herod, just think of how many more thousands of people he could be 
preaching to. But now he's in prison! Finished up!

But notice; while Herodias (Herod's lover) wanted to kill John on the
spot, Herod "feared John" knowing he was "holy and just". (Mk6:20) And,
interestingly enough, Herod spent time with John while John was in 
captivity, and "heard from him." (vs20)

Well, you can be sure that Herod wasn't sitting in prison, all chummy
with John. John would have been brought into Herod's presence. In such
surroundings, there were servants and relatives coming and going. And
they obviously would have heard John speak, too. And amongst them was
Manaen.

What became of Manaen? He became one of the prophets/teachers at the
Church's new center of operations in Antioch. One who would teach and
train others. If you will, a Bible Institute "professor".

In the short term it seemed like a sad day when John was imprisoned and
beheaded. And it might not have seemed like there was any fruit to his
captivity. But John's ministry extended out into the new Church. If
John had not been imprisoned, it might be possible that Manaen would
not have come to the Lord.

The same thing happened when Paul was in captivity. He spoke before
kings, governors, and was day-in day-out with prison guards. When he
was in Rome he lived "in his own rented place" (under guard, of
course)(Acts28:30), receiving people, proclaiming the Word. And along
the way, his witness was such that a fellowship grew even within
"Caesar's house" (Phil4:22)

There are those who make a point of being "soul winners" and boast when
they can produce a 'list' of all those they have (supposedly) led to
the Lord. But what God actually requires of us is for us to be
"faithful"... (1Cor4:2) whether we know our 'success' or not. We never
know 'who' is going to receive the Word, nor under 'what' circumstances.

"..the one sowing to the Spirit will reap everlasting life from the
Spirit.  But we should not weaken in doing good, for in due time we
shall reap, if we do not faint." (Gal6:8-9)

Amen!