Monday, May 14, 2012

The Torch of Christ

At different and crucial points in my walk, God has sent messengers to lift up Christ as a blazing torch in the darkness of my path.  Years ago, right after giving up Buddhism, I did a 6 month stint with Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I was a voracious Bible-reader and quickly assimilated JW’s perspective of the scriptures.  One night, I was arguing with a Christian guy about whether the Bible sanctioned blood transfusions since, after all, the Old Testament forbids the eating of blood.  Exasperated by his refusal to yield to the teachings of my religion, I asked this Christian, “OK, FINE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BLOOD MEANS?”  He said, “I think it’s about Jesus.  Colossians says that the law was a shadow of spiritual reality in Christ.  So everything about blood in the Old Testament is speaking about the blood of Jesus.”  It is difficult to relate what went on in my mind as he talked.  It was like watching a puzzle putting itself together.  And when the last piece fell into place, I saw Christ.
            After that conversation, I hightailed it out of JW’s for good and started going to church with that guy.  (See their website here:  During my time there, I heard a man named JW Luman speak on a number of occasions, and it was in the middle of one of his messages that I had another floodlight moment with Jesus.  I can’t even tell you what topic he was preaching on, but at one point JW said of Jesus, “And He is a land, and a temple, and a mountain, and a man!”  To have all these biblical images gathered up into Jesus Christ had a similar effect as my conversation about blood years earlier.  Where once the Bible appeared as so many Scrabble tiles in a disordered mess, its letters now aligned in a single message—“JESUS.”  (JW is part of Covenant Ministries International:
            God has no other message for us but His Son, Jesus (Heb. 1:1, 2).  This is a message I missed, even as a serious student of the Bible.  I am thankful for the messengers God has sent and continues to send my way, just when I need them.  My prayer is that I can thank them by taking up the torch of Christ and continuing to hold it aloft for anyone who cares to look to it.