Monday, April 4, 2011
The power of one + God
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!