JOHN THE BAPTIST
It’s said that “God works in mysterious ways.” Have you ever wondered ‘Why?’ Why can’t he just operate in ‘normal’ ways like the rest of us? Why can’t he just be logical, easier to understand? Why does he have to be so ‘mysterious’?
One example of God’s ‘mysterious’ methods is the fact that he used a person like John the Baptist for such a prominent role in his plan of salvation. John was, what some would consider to be, an odd – perhaps, mysterious – character. He spent his time out in the middle of nowhere. He wore camel’s hair for clothing. His diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. And yet, his oddest characteristics are found in what he did and in what he said. He boldly told the truth, even though, at times, that truth made him very unpopular. He poured simple water on people, telling them that they needed to repent of their sins. He stood his ground, despite the fact that that’s what led to his imprisonment and, eventually, to his execution. Odd though he was, Jesus said of him, “among those born of women, there is no one greater than John.”
Why? Why the doom and gloom? Why the brutal honesty? Why the insistence on telling people to do that which was uncomfortable and unnatural for them to do? Why didn’t he just leave people to their happy thoughts of self-worth and self-reliance? Because he actually cared about the truth. He cared enough to tell people what they needed to hear…not necessarily what they wanted to hear. John the Baptist came to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah that was promised and prophesied throughout the Old Testament. He urged people to acknowledge and repent of their sins so that they might rely on Jesus and his worth as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He called for a change of heart and a change of action, for “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8) so that the light of Christ would shine brighter and longer and wider throughout the world for all people to see Christ’s love, to see his salvation.
Why does God work in “mysterious ways,” through unlikely people, with a humanly illogical message? Honestly, we can’t always say why, but we can say this: “If God were small enough for us to understand, he would not be big enough to be worshiped” (Jeske, p. 3, Connecting Sinai to Calvary: A Guide to the Old Testament). Be glad that “[God’s] ways are higher than your ways,” and find comfort in the fact that “[His] thoughts are higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). This just proves that he’s worthy of his title and worthy of your faith. Trust his wisdom. Believe his promises. Find peace in his loving forgiveness and in the guarantee of eternal life in heaven through Jesus!
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