Thursday, February 18, 2016

Being John the Baptist

A slight twist on the 1999 film "Being John Malkovich", though I've never seen the movie.

Is it possible to be like John the Baptist? Surely it is. The Great Commission commands us to go and make disciples while John the Baptist came preparing the way of the Lord. Both are meant to spread the good news of salvation. In Matthew 11 we find a different side of John the Baptist. He wasn't called John the Doubter; that clever nickname was reserved for Thomas. However, in this chapter we see John in a prison questioning the Christ.

I imagine sitting in a jail cell to be unflattering at the least. The jails of Jesus' day were probably less than the sanitary ones criminals are privileged to bask in today. And here, the messenger of Christ was spending his days inside this cell sitting and wondering. Why was he of all people still inside the jail? Beth Moore in Believing God points out John's potential angst of not being delivered by the one who has claimed His power over the earth, Jesus.

John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus. His simple question: "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Wow! John the Baptist knew his current situation. Was all of his work in vain? Was it not true? Was another coming? Had John missed the point? Was Jesus not it? I imagine sitting in a jail cell where insects of every kind are crawling on you and thinking - is this hope false? That hope placed in the Messiah- The Promised One- is it false? John the Baptist was bare bones honest before Jesus. He needed answers. He wanted answers.

I love Jesus' response. I love how He wasn't quick to rebuke the messengers or John the Baptist. I love how Jesus knew the heart of John and didn't turn Him away. I love that He provided the proof of His ministry that lined up with the many prophecies regarding the Messiah - primarily found in Isaiah. Jesus closes to the messengers, "And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."

I love this verse. I want you to love it too. John the Baptist had an expectation of what the Messiah would be- the entire Jewish population did. Would He be an earthly king riding in chariots? Laying out enemies? John the Baptist expected Jesus to deliver Him from prison, but that's not what Jesus did. Jesus is on earth to do the will of the Father. His life began in a way none could have conceived, but He was the Messiah born of a virgin. The one who is not offended by Him is the one who doesn't turn away from the faith when their expectations aren't met.

I find myself being John the Baptist often. I question. I doubt. I fear. But forever am turning the Bible or my husband to talk through the thoughts. I sometimes want to scream just like John - "Are you the one????" Yet, here's the sweet spot. Jesus doesn't turn me away. He doesn't rebuke me. He disciplines me, oh yes. But He draws me closer to His word. He doesn't let me go. Even when I'm John the Baptist, He sends His proof through His Word and hearing His Word preached and spoken.

Though John the Baptist sat in a jail cell and doubted for a moment, his heart for the Lord and commitment to obeying God's mission were greater. And this is why I desire to be more like John the Baptist - not offended, moving forward, trusting and hoping.

Blessed are we when we aren't easily offended - because our expectations aren't met.

1 comment:

  1. I like it! This explanation makes much more sense than the explanation you were giving me as you were also preparing 4 different dishes for dinner last night :) I love you!