I had the privilege of attending the Men's Prayer Breakfast at our church this morning, and while the food was very good, those sharing from the Word provided much better "food for thought." The speaker spoke about the Lord praying to the Father in the garden just before He was to be crucified (Lk. 22:42). He said that Jesus was afraid of what He was about to face, and that He pleaded with the Father to change His plan. When Jesus was ending His prayer, He said, "nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done." Even though in His humanity He wanted to avoid the suffering He was facing, He was more afraid of the moment our sin would be placed upon Him, and He would no longer be in fellowship with His Father. Jesus knew the Scriptures that described what He was facing, and He was terrified (Ps. 22:1-17; Isa. 53:1-12; Dan. 9:26). Thanks be to God that His love for us was greater than His fear!
After he was finished speaking, a dear brother in the Lord shared an awesome illustration. He said that men are like pumpkins. If they are left in the field unharvested, they die and rot. But if someone picks them, cleans off the dirt of the field, opens them, takes out all the gook inside, gives them eyes and a mouth, and replaces the gook with a candle, they become a jack-o-lantern. Christians are like those pumpkins. We are in the field (the world), and we are unclean (sin). Jesus picks us (Jn. 15:16, 19), cleans us up inside and out (baptizes us with His Spirit inside, and baptizes us in water on the outside), gives us eyes to see (Jn. 9:25), gives us a mouth to proclaim what He has done (Lk. 21:15), and puts His light in us (Matt. 5:14). We are useful to God because God has made us so.
Another brother suggested that Jesus, Who became a man for the purpose of redeeming the lost (Phil. 2:5-8), was like the Great Pumpkin of the Charlie Brown comic strip fame. The "legend of the Great Pumpkin" says that He comes to earth to give gifts to children. Jesus came in the form of the rest of us pumpkins, and He was already clean inside and out (Heb. 4:15). He already had the light within Him (Jn. 9:5). Just like the "legend," the "Great Pumpkin" requests that the children come to Him (Mk. 10:14-16). And, just like the "legend," the "Great Pumpkin" gives gifts to children (Eph. 4:8).
But unlike the "legend," our "Great Pumpkin" took all the gook of all mankind inside Himself (2 Cor. 5:21). Instead of a Halloween pumpkin, Christ became our "Passover Pumpkin" (1 Cor. 5:7). Our "Great Pumpkin" died for our sin (Rom. 5:6, 8; 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11; 15:3), and not for our sin only, but for the sin of the whole world (1 Jn. 2:2). A pumpkin has to die to become a jack-o-lantern; our "Great Pumpkin" had to die that we could bring joy and light to the lost in their darkness. It is a terrible thing to say, but the majority of those claiming to be Christians fail to have their eyes open to see the field needing harvesting (Matt. 9:36-38), and their mouth is seldom, if ever, used to share the light (Acts. 1:8).
The next time you see a jack-o-lantern, think on these things!