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Turn and Look


On a bitterly cold Sunday morning in 1850, a young man slipped into the back row of a tiny Methodist church. Since the head minister was delayed due to the storm, an uneducated deacon delivered a message. His text? “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22 KJV). Near the end, the deacon looked at the strange boy sitting on the back pew and said, “Young man, you look very miserable. And you will always be miserable—miserable in life and miserable in death—if you do not obey my text.” He shouted, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ.” At that moment, a young Charles Spurgeon surrendered his life to the Lord.

The beginning verse of today’s passage convicted young Spurgeon and influenced him to become one of the greatest preachers of all time. Verse 22 states both the simplicity and the necessity of salvation. All we must do to receive salvation is “look” (KJV) or “turn” (NIV) to the Lord. Both convey the need to shift our attention to Jesus. Spurgeon was struck by the effortlessness of this declarative statement. It did not take years of deliberate effort but only a moment of looking to be saved. “In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength” (v. 24); salvation is not based on our efforts.

The power rests in God alone! And, this invitation is open to everyone, to “all you ends of the earth” (v. 22). Verses 23–25 elaborate on the concept of God’s matchlessness and power. The author writes that “every knee will bow” and every tongue will confess that only God is able to save (v. 23). This truth from God’s Word captivated a young Spurgeon exactly 170 years ago, and it continues to change lives today.

>> Have you looked for answers in the wrong places? Remember that the Lord wants us to look to Him. Turn your focus onto Him alone, trusting that He is sovereign. If you have never surrendered your life to the One who gives salvation, we encourage you to “turn” and “look” to Him today.

BY Chris Rappazini

Chris Rappazini is the associate professor and program head of the BA and MA in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary. He is the vice president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and previously served as the associate minister of preaching and teaching at Southside Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. Chris and his wife, Ashley, and their three children reside in Northwest Indiana.

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