I found myself thinking about the different reactions to John’s message. People who sat under his preaching took his message to heart and wondered, “What should we do?” (12).
People of all walks of life began wondering how John’s word applied to their lives, even tax collectors and soldiers –outcasts and disliked people –asked what they should do given their professions. And John told them. The implication of the text is that these people were spiritually hungry and they changed their ways.
But then the story continues, John confronted a person of power, a person who did not come to him. Instead it was someone whom John sought out. But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison (19-20).
Herod’s reaction was quite different from the populous who sought John out.
Different people, different reactions.
I mused; the populous sought out John and were willing to change. However, John called out Herod who had no interest in changing and had power to do something against John.
Speaking to the spiritually hungry, witnessing to God’s way can be relatively easy and fruit blossoms.
But speaking to the spiritually closed, beware. They likely will not accept your words (judgments) and they may use their power to harm or stop you.
Even as I wrote the above I realized that the two statements above could lead me (us) to live ‘safe lives’ never speaking God’s prophetic words to a corrupt people or a corrupt generation. However, we must follow the leading of the Lord and when God calls us to speak to unsympathetic people or systems we must realize that sometimes we are a ‘John the Baptist’ –we will suffer earthy loss following Jesus’ heavenly directive. Other times we may be ‘a Jonah’ seeing earthy fruit while following Jesus’ heavenly directive.
Note to self… follow the Lord’s direction and accept what comes whether good or bad. It is the Lord people are following or denying, not me.
Second note to self… make sure you are following the Lord’s direction and not some self-generated voice from within.
Oh God, give me ears to hear and a heart to discern YOUR voice, YOUR leading and YOUR call for my life today and every today You allow me to live this side of eternity. And Lord, also give me courage to follow wherever YOUR call leads and to accept whatever the outcome no matter how it affects me personally. I am willing to be a John the Baptist if that is YOUR call for my life. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen