John The Baptist

John The Baptist

Today I was thinking about Romans 8:28 which says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Most of the time this verse comes to mind during times of challenges we face in life – times when things just don’t seem to be going right. If you’re like me, you border on a “pity party” and feel like life is not as abundant as The Bible says it should be. You may even start asking why things are the way they are. Most often, I have learned that I have moved into my selfish, self-centered mode because things aren’t going my way. That is when my spiritual brother John the Baptist comes to mind.

As you know, John was Jesus’ cousin. They did not live in the same town but there had to have been many occasions when family got together, especially at the annual festivals in Jerusalem as well as family reunions. So, surely they grew up together and had memories of those gatherings as well as family stories that made them both smile. Deep inside of them both, however, was a knowledge of destiny and purpose. John to become the greatest prophet of all times and Jesus to become the savior of the world. Unfortunately, John could not “see” what was ahead as well as Christ and had to take things “a day at a time” like the rest of us.

John’s outspoken nature and commitment to telling the truth allowed him to pave the way for his cousin – The Messiah, confessing this often (Matthew 3:11). From scripture we know many people followed John, looking to him for hope and possibly messianic power. For three years he never allowed himself to receive that honor or allow others to give him glory but rather constantly referred others to his cousin (John 1:35 – 37). Then he ended up in a prison whose filth we cannot even image today with a King who constantly came to him for input and advice but ignored his direction while he lived in the rot and stench of that pit. Is it any wonder after months in that confinement that he asked Christ if He was really the messiah? (Matthew 11:3) I would have been depressed and wondered too.

Sadly, there wasn’t a positive end to John’s story. Even though he got a positive answer from the disciples he sent, it was shortly thereafter that he was beheaded because of a drunken promise Herod made. The whole thing doesn’t really seem fair, does it? However, each of us, like John has a calling to which we must listen. None of us will ever repeat the mission of John, yet all of us are called to our very own mission. It is our role to witness that Christ is the Messiah, whatever our position in the world because we, like John are His Disciples. Our words and our deeds should help others realize that we live in joy because His Spirit lives inside of us and provides us with unlimited resources that we can call upon at times the pity party begins. Our joy during those times are what “speak” to those who need the message.

John’s life was one designed for scarcity of sustenance as is evidenced by his diet. It was one of poor housing as to his residence in the desert. It was prophetic in the truest sense, yet he could not and would not ask for position or recognition. It was all about someone else only to be rewarded with a sharp ax. Doesn’t seem too fair until you hear Christ’s declaration for His cousin: “The greatest Prophet of all time!” My guess is that John would say it was worth it.

The important thing is that your life is just as important to God. You are impacting a sphere of influence, just like John did. I know your love of Christ will make others smile regardless of whether it is lifestyle or focused evangelism. Your prophetic capacity is there and my prayer is others will see it.

Love Dad

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