When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you (Matthew 11:7-10, Common English Bible).
When I first read today’s lesson I kind of laughed a little at Jesus’ words. “What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes?” When one thinks about John the Baptist, the last thing we should think of is refined clothing. John the Baptist, arguably is best known for his outlandish attire. His cloak alone was made from matted (at least as I picture it), shaggy camel’s hair. I often tell people, we are not talking about a camel-hair sports coat here. I feel certain John the Baptist was quite a sight to see.
Here is the real deal. John’s clothing really didn’t make any difference. It wasn’t about John’s clothes, it was about John’s mission. John’s mission was to be Jesus’ Elijah. He was to go ahead of Jesus, announcing Jesus’ arrival and preparing the way for him.
To me, John was a trail blazer for Jesus. He was to make a road where there was no road. For most of us, when we put a lot of time and effort into something, we want the credit. Such was never the case for John. From the very beginning, John the Baptist knew his role in the world. He was the prophet who announced the arrival of the Messiah. It was never about him. It was always about making a way for the one who was to come, Jesus, the Christ.
In yesterday’s lesson, John was asking Jesus if he was the one to come. Jesus gave his answer by telling the things that were happening, the things Jesus was doing. John the Baptist had put a lot of time and effort into preparing the way for Jesus. He wanted to make sure he was leading the way for the right person. He was. In the end, John the Baptist had done the job God had placed before him.
Not all of us can serve in the forefront. Not all of us want to do so. Still, God has something for all of us to do. Like John the Baptist, we have to find our way. We have to live out the work God has for us to do. It seems to me, that while we don’t make the way for Jesus himself, what we do as disciples is, make the way for others to find their way to the Messiah we already know. That, is a great place for our work in the world.
What do you do to make a way for others to find Jesus?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved