John the Baptist. Now there’s a character.
He would never make the cover of GQ. I mean who wears a leather belt with a camel hair coat?
He didn’t have a church, or a leadership position in the Temple. He probably wouldn’t have been welcome at either one anyway, unless he changed his clothes. And shut his mouth.
But he didn’t really worry about being ‘accepted’ before he could start fulfilling God’s call on his life. He just went out in the wilderness, hung up his shingle, and started preaching. I wonder if he even had an audience when he began. He may have started out preaching to the wildlife.
However it happened, soon people started heading out to the wilderness to hear him preach. And it wasn’t like he was sharing a feel-good message. He was telling these people–most of whom were probably already involved in ‘religion’–that they needed to repent and be baptized. And that’s just what they did. And they went back and told their friends and family and people kept coming.
Then one day the local religious leaders showed up and asked to be baptized. You KNOW there’s a story behind that trip! My idea is that Temple attendance started falling off drastically because the congregation was all out in the wilderness listening to JTB. Or maybe the congregation was growing, but all they could talk about was JTB and his message and their baptism and their changed lives.
Anyway, when the religious leaders showed up, instead of rejoicing over them, JTB called them a bunch of snakes and told them he wouldn’t baptize them unless they had evidence of a changed life. How embarrassing that they didn’t!
I have a feeling they went back to town with as many questions as they left with. Maybe more. I don’t think they ‘got it.’ I think they went out there looking at JTB’s methods. I think they were trying to figure out what he was doing that was drawing such a crowd. Maybe they were checking out his logo and his mission statement. Maybe they even thought about having services outside every fifth Sabbath.
The sad thing is I don’t think they had a clue that they weren’t even in the same hemisphere as JTB, much less in the same ballpark.
JTB was sharing TRUTH. Life-changing truth. And they were still stuck in their religion.
There was no way they could compete because once you’ve had a taste of life-changing truth, you can’t go back to mere religion.
And if the religious leaders thought JTB was a handful, they were in for a surprise. Because he was just the warm-up act for the real religion-bashing, Life-Changing TRUTH.
– When is the last time you heard life-changing truth? Where did you hear it?
– Where do you go to be challenged to repent?
– What is your calling? Are you waiting to be ‘accepted’ or are you moving forward to fulfill it?
– In what wilderness could you hang up your shingle and start fulfilling God’s purpose for your life? Why aren’t you there yet?