I know what you’re thinking, “This slacker is taking a shortcut. Those stinking’ Gen Xers are always lazy and good-for-nothing….”
Everybody knows we are to do whatever Jesus did. To ask this question is just silly, right? How can we ever grow in holiness following John? How can we ever be sanctified following someone who ate locusts and honey? (Of course, your insides would be extra clean on this diet!) Don’t we all know that Jesus is God and God said to be holy like He is holy? Are you pulling some David Platt experiment on me and want me to be radical, living in the desert having sold all I have? (That’s a joke David!)
When I read this Scripture:
13 But the angel said to him:Do not be afraid, Zechariah,because your prayer has been heard.Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,and you will name him John. 14 There will be joy and delight for you,and many will rejoice at his birth.15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.17And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah,to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.
Did you notice the last phrase “to make ready for the Lord a prepared people”? While I understand we are to be holy like God, I feel so much like a failure. This makes me more humble and hungry for the Word to enrich my life toward God. However, I resonate with John. I am a part of the Church. I am the Gospel Project. You are too! John’s purpose according to that last part is to make ready for the Lord a prepared people. We wait for Jesus to return. We want our friends and family to be ready also. In other words, we are doing the same thing John was going to do: make ready for the Lord a prepared people.
So, what would(did) John do?
1. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. From birth the Bible says he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Later in life he continued to make the choices necessary for the free flow of the Spirit’s power. The only way to be filled with the Spirit is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross. He provided life through His resurrection. Our putting faith in His activity as sufficient for salvation is critical. The Holy Spirit arrives and gives you the power to put into practice that which He desires.
2. He didn’t let the culture dictate his desires. He lived in the desert. He ate locusts and honey. He wore camel skins. He was not a fashionista or hipster. He didn’t care that the iPhone 5 was out because his iPhone 3 was still working. Did I mention his housing arrangements?
3. He believed in family ministry. He was less concerned with event ministry and more concerned with relationships. The angel said that John would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children. Research has shown over and over the deep impact a father has over the family.
4. He believed in redemptive ministry. How many times have we heard, “Don’t judge me!”? Two things are going on here. First, we are probable being judgmental. Let’s be honest, the Christian community has a way of hating the sin and hating the sinner. We do poorly at communicating love for the person while trying to express a biblical truth. Second, people feel the weight of their sin when Scripture is presented and they don’t like it!
In your opinion, what would John do?