READ: Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-20
Today I’m recalling this prophecy spoken by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah and recorded in Luke 1:14-17, “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
I want to be like John. He was a joy and delight to his parents. Many others rejoiced because of his birth. He was great in the sight of the Lord. What a winner! He was odd but that oddity tied to a clarion voice of truth won people to him, to his message. His determined honesty caused some to wonder if he was the Christ, but John’s honesty wasn’t just for others, it was for himself. He never wavered from his understanding of his mission – to prepare the way for one whose sandals he wasn’t even fit to untie. He never puffed up or thought, ‘Wow, so many are following me, maybe there is more to me than I realized!” He remained ever John, the one called to prepare the way for Jesus.
John spoke truth without reserve no matter who the truth applied to and no matter the power of the person. He was rewarded for this honesty by imprisonment and an early death. I am a person who weighs my words. I value relationship and I know the power of words to help and to harm. Those considerations and a desire not to lose entry into another’s life through my words can prompt me to hold my tongue – maybe even when I should speak (or write!). Can I be as outspoken as John? I don’t know, but I pray that I never step away from saying what is prompted by the Holy Spirit no matter how brutally honest the message.
Lord, how I admire John. I sense Your admiration of him too – this man created by You to speak Your message just before you stepped on the world’s stage. Lord, I ask You to create in me that same humble heart that You crafted in John. I also ask that You give me an obedient heart and voice to speak out truth whenever and wherever You give me place and the prompting to do so and to trust the results to You!