Monday, April 4, 2011

The power of one + God

The story of John the Baptist has always intrigued me. Yes, he was the forerunner to Christ, the messenger announcing the Messiah. He was also Jesus's cousin.  But have you ever really stopped to think about this man's life?  The Bible tells us he wore camel skin and ate locusts and honey.  We also know that he was a Nazirite, which was a man consecrated to God. He couldn't cut his hair, drink alcohol or come anywhere near a dead corpse. Though I'm sure there were other Nazirites running around at that time, I doubt any of them wore camel skins and only ate locusts and honey.  John was an oddity. He wasn't what society at that time would call normal. He was an outcast.

In today's terms, he might be the homeless guy on the corner who doesn't smell so good and who is screaming that the end is near.  People cross the street to avoid him and definitely don't make eye contact, fearing he might speak to them.

This is John.  Why wasn't this guy ignored? Why wasn't he shunned?  Why, instead, did he gather a faithful following and then proceed to baptize thousands of people who came to hear his message? I know, it must have been his great message that God had a prosperous future for everyone. That God wants to heal them and bless them and make them rich.  Right?

No, John's message was simple. "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near."   Repent?  Like confess my sins and ask forgiveness and then don't do them anymore...that kind of repent?  Good grief, that doesn't sound very good.

Well, surely he had good connections. You know, with the wealthy religious leaders of the day. Surely they were backing him and prompting people to go out. But wait..... isn't this what happened?
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."  Matthew 3:7-10

Hmm. That doesn't sound very nice. He should have been arrested for hate speech!

Maybe it was because John performed miracles.. signs and wonders?
But no. The Bible doesn't record any miracles.

So why did people go out by the thousands to listen to John and be baptized by him?  Let me offer my theory. John was a simple man who was in complete submission to God, who loved God with all His heart and who obeyed God by speaking God's word in truth and love.

Word of God + Spirit of God + obedient servant = Power  

The power to do mighty things for God. The power to change history.  Why do I tell you this? Because so often we don't think that we can do much of anything for God. We are too shy, too weird, too sinful, too this, too that. Too often we sit on the sidelines, afraid to move, afraid to speak, even though we feel God prompting us.  We can't imagine what we could possibly do to help save the lost in our city. Why would anyone listen to us?

Let us learn from John the Baptist. (And so many others throughout Scripture) If God tells us to do something, step out of the boat and do it. Open your mouth and speak truth, speak the words of life. I think you'll be surprised what one person and God can do!


  1. Monday, April 4th,
    "Morning, MaryLu".
    Thanks for another timely word. "The power of one, plus God" .... Amen to that !
    I struggle with the mindset at times ... "What can just little old me do?" Too shy (at times), afraid to move, afraid to speak, sitting on the sidelines ... yes, I can identify with that, unfortunately. Must learn to "get out of the boat ... and just do it" !!!
    Thank-you for the encouragement ... to be obedient.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Very true. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a very scary thing to do. I find it easier to step out when someone else steps out first. But, sometimes God wants us to be the first one to step out. Very scary and intimidating. Thanks for this devotion, MaryLu, thank you for stepping out of the boat today and writing this life lesson. Have a great week.
    FYI: Today, Jack and I celebrate out 27th anniversary and tomorrow is my birthday. So, my week is starting out pretty good. :-)

  3. Brenda, believe it or not, we are very much alike. I'm extremely shy and nervous all the time. So, I can relate to your struggles. I keep reminding myself, we only have this one life to do things for God. I don't want to be left in the boat when He calls me to walk on the water! May He bless both of us with courage and peace to do His bidding.
    Debbie, Congratulations on your anniversary!! 27 years deserves a round of exuberant applause! And I already saw on Facebook about your Birthday. I pray God gives you such a fabulous week, you are stunned by his loving kindness!

  4. Monday, April 4th,

    "Good evening, MaryLu".
    Thanks for sharing MaryLu ... and for saying: "May He bless us both with courage and peace to do His bidding". Amen, and Amen to that !

    And to Debbie M: My "Congratulations" too, on this your 27th Wedding Anniversary, today. And Birthday wishes and blessings, on your birthday tomorrow. Yes, I'd say it is a great way to start the week off !

    Take care, and, God Bless "all",
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  5. Thank you ladies. We had a nice anniversary. Spent the day with our girls and grandson. We went out for dinner and dessert and had a nice time.
    God bless.