If you had to sum up the one thing that John the Baptist did, what would you say it was? There was one main thrust of his life, and the fascinating thing was that his father was told by the Angel Gabriel what it would be…before he was born:
“…For he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:15-17 (ESV)
There is a key idea in the life of this man they called “the Baptist.” Do you see it? He changes lives. Well…God does through him. He turns the hearts of men and women around, preparing Israel for the Lord Jesus.
Ultimately it’s about getting people ready for Christ, but the overall sense of things is that he does this by changing people through the power of the Holy Spirit. Fathers, for instance, will stop hanging out with their buddies at the city gate all night and start staying home and playing games with their kids. Through John the Baptist, you see, change comes. What a glorious calling, to help people change for the better.
And I was drawn to a particular description of how his happens: the disobedient are turned to the wisdom of the just or the righteous.The inherent idea here is that being disobedient to God is not wise. But a lot of times we already know that and yet are not empowered to change, and therefore, what people need is an encounter with God to see the truth of it afresh…and repent. And often times, that encounter happens through another person, sometimes a preacher like John, and sometimes a neighbor or co-worker or friend…like you.
God grant that each of us might be John the Baptist in the lives of others, and that He would send a few Spirit-empowered John the Baptists into our lives as well.
For tomorrow, Thursday, July 2: Luke 2