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Humble Hero

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    The Reason Christ Did Not Deliver John

    Many minds question why John the Baptist was left to languish and die in prison. But this dark outcome can never shake our confidence in God when we remember that John was only a sharer in the sufferings of Christ. All who follow Christ will wear the crown of sacrifice. Satan will war against the principle of self-sacrifice wherever it appears.HH 97.5

    Satan had been untiring in his efforts to draw the Baptist away from a life of unreserved surrender to God, but he had failed. In Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, Satan had been defeated. Now he determined to bring sorrow on Christ by striking John. The One whom he could not entice to sin, he would cause to suffer.HH 97.6

    Jesus did not intervene to deliver His servant. He knew that John would bear the test. The Savior would gladly have come to brighten John’s dungeon gloom with His own presence. But He must not imperil His own mission. For the sake of thousands who in later years must pass from prison to death, John was to drink the cup of martyrdom. As the followers of Jesus would languish in lonely cells or die by the sword, the rack, or the flames, apparently forsaken by God and man, what a comfort to their hearts would be the thought that John the Baptist had passed through a similar experience!HH 98.1

    John was not forsaken. He had the companionship of heavenly angels, who opened to him the prophecies concerning Christ and the precious promises of Scripture. To John, as to those who came after him, the assurance was given, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.HH 98.2

    God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the purpose they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who died alone in the dungeon. “To you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Philippians 1:29. Of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon us, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.HH 98.3

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