Tuesday, October 2, 2007

John the Baptist

We have been reading through the book of Matthew with our Life Groups at Wesley. I am so captured by John the Baptist is Matthew 11. Here this man has given everything, his whole self and whole life in the service of Jesus - everything seems to be going great. Then out of the blue, he gets thrown in jail. I imagine this is unexpected. I mean, when we are giving selflessly and serving God, aren't we supposed to be blessed and have success? Well, he gets thrown in jail. John the freaking Baptist of all people gets thrown in jail.

I would have been protesting like crazy, "Umm, excuse me. Maybe you don't know who I am. I am the forerunner to Jesus, I'm kindof a big deal. That song Prepare the Way, they wrote that about me. There is no one born of women greater than me."

Instead, we hear John simply human, "Are you the One we have been waiting for or should we look for another?" I am struck by the beauty of this raw, authentic expression of weakness and doubt. John the Baptist has doubts. Just like me. That's refreshing because it seems like every other day that I end up asking the same thing because of my circumstances or my mood or my frustrations or expectations.

Matt 11: 2 - 6
2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
4 Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— 5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. 6 And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.”

Jesus responds to his cousin whom he loves with a word of hope. "Tell John about all the miracles. Tell him he has not labored in vain. Oh and p.s., tell him that God blesses those who do not turn away because of me."

We just can not know what the outcomes of our labor for Christ will be. And we are not promised success or prosperity, awards or fame. We simply are asked to be faithful.

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