Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” (Acts 19:4)
More than ever, we live in a celebrity-oriented culture, where prominence in society gives a person influence over people all over the world. People look to NBA players for their take on social issues, to famous singers for their thoughts on relationships, to influencers for views on new products, and to well-known journalists for their opinions on recent events. Some of these celebrities may be right about certain things, but they aren’t the source of truth and shouldn’t be our ultimate authorities!
As Christians, we have to be careful here, since the Church is heading down the same pathway as well. Yes, it is certainly a blessing to be able to listen to sermons from well-known Christ-exalting preachers at any time! But at the same time, we need to think about whether we exalt these celebrity pastors and apologists beyond the person they ought to be exalting—Jesus Christ. Do we first turn to their words, or the Word of God? Do the people you listen to hide behind the cross of Christ so that you may see the glory, beauty, and love of Christ, or do they desire to be loved and admired?
In today’s passage, we see the power of Christ displayed. It was Christ’s love, truth, and power that drove people to Himself, that allowed Paul to perform miracles, that empowered the Gospel to be preached throughout Asia, and that caused the Holy Spirit to come onto those who were baptized!
During his ministry, John the Baptist made it clear that he was not the Christ, but merely one who would prepare the way for him. After Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, as evident in the passage, Paul and the rest of the apostles expressed the glory and power and work of Jesus Christ above any human accomplishment or way. May we always remember who has accomplished a great work on our behalf and rescued us from sin and death! As we have good conversations with fellow believers, pray and worship corporately, and hear the Word preached together, may our focus be on Christ, so that through the strength that God gives, we are compelled to follow Jesus more and more!