The Chocolate Soldier (7)
The following text was written by Charles Studd (1860 - 1931), a british missionary who served the Lord in China, India and Africa. The thoughts are to be enjoyed with a certain caution and with some humor. Nevertheless, God can use them to touch our hearts:
JOHN THE BAPTIST—a man taught and made and sent of God—good old John! Who doesn't love and admire him? Why, even Herod did. A genuine deficiency of oil and treacle in his composition.
He always told the bang flat truth, with emphasis. As he loved, so he warned. He knew not how to fawn. He wooed with the sword, and "men" loved him the better for it. They always do.
The leaders of religion sent to John to ask him the dearly loved question of every Pharisee, "By what authority doest thou these (good) things?" They asked that of Christ Himself, and crucified Him for the doing of them.
John's answer was plain and pungent, "I will tell you what you ask, and more. (John was always liberal!) I? I am nobody, but ye and your masters are a generation of vipers." A good hot curry, that! John never served his curries with butter sauce, but he was always very liberal with chutney—a man of God—no sugar plum nor Chocolate Soldier he!
Thus also he faced Herod after six months in an underground dungeon, and he a man of "God's Open-air Mission". Brought straight in before the king; surrounded with all the might and majesty of camp and court; blinking at the unaccustomed sight of light, but by no means putting blinkers on the truth, he blurted out his hot and thunderous rebuke, "Thou shalt not have that woman to be thy wife."
A whole sermon in one sentence, as easy to remember as impossible to forget. John had preached like that before; like Hugh Latimer, he was not above repeating a good sermon to a king, word for word, when the king had not given sufficient heed to it.
John received the unique distinction of a first-class character from both God and the agent of the devil. Hark to the Savior indulging in an outburst of exquisite sarcasm, "What think ye of John? A reed shaken by the wind? A man clothed in soft raiment?" A Chocolate Christian? (How delicious! The Chocolates were right in front of Jesus at the time—Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, scribes, lawyers, and other hypocrites. How the crowd must have enjoyed it!)
"A prophet? Nay, much more than a prophet! Of men born of women there is none greater than John" (Luke 7:28). And what did the devil's agent say when, after John's death, he heard of Jesus? "This," I tell you, "is John risen from the dead."
What a character! Fancy Jesus being mistaken for anyone! He could have been mistaken only for John. Nobody envies him the well-deserved honour, great though it was, for John was a man—pure granite right through, with not a grain of chocolate in him.
Had John but heard Jesus say, "Ye shall be My witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth," I very much doubt if Herod's dungeon, or his soldiers, could have detained him. He surely would have found some means of escape, and run off to preach Christ's Gospel, if not in the very heart of Africa, then in some more difficult and dangerous place.
Yet Christ said, referring to His subsequent gift of the Holy Ghost to every believer, "He that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he," intimating that even greater powers than those of John are at the disposal of every Christian, and that what John was, each one of us can be—good, straight, bold, unconquerable, heroic.
Article series: The Chocolate SoldierThe Chocolate Soldier (6) The Chocolate Soldier (8)