FEAST OF THE PASSION OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
We named him John, not so he could die for Christ, but so he could live for him. We call them martyrs, not because they were given the choice to die or deny Him, but because they were given the choice to live for Christ or die without giving Him glory.
“I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given me, for they are Yours; all mine are Yours, and Yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.” – John 17:9-10
Martyrs do not choose their death. The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. He was given no choice to recant and live, neither was Philip the first NT martyr, for their choice to live for Christ was what caused them to die a martyrs death. And for their life, Christ was glorified at their death, just as Christ’s life glorified the Father at His death.
It is not enough for us to say, let me die well, but rather we must choose to live well.
THE LAST PROPHET
We called him John, because in a way, we are like him, the last prophets of men who will point the world to Jesus.
“I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” – Luke 7:28
The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?
We called him John, because the Last shall be first. Another friend wrote, “Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by; he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.
Today, every baptized Christian is being invited by the Spirit of Yahweh to be the prophetic voice of Jesus into the culture of death that is rioting in the streets. Our message isn’t condemnation of culture but life in Christ! It’s not a message of racial identity, sexual identity, political identity or even cultural identity. It’s our identity found as members of the Body of Christ, the only True Savior able to inspire the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE we all hope for and desire.”
WE CALLED HIM JOHN
Because, unlike the atheism of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, which encourages the Atlases of the world to shrug off responsibilities and declares its ethos in the phrase, “Who is John Galt?”
The followers of Christ today must turn and pick up the responsibilities of His cross and His Kingdom and choosing to live a life of leading disciples to Christ answer the call of one crying out in the wilderness, “Who is John the Baptist?”
And by our choosing life, we also along with the John’s of this generation enter into Christ’s Passion; becoming His Beloved Apostles, who by beheading or natural death become martyrs for Christ for having lived for Him. And, He is glorified by all those born of men who will cry out with a loud voice.
WE CHOSE LIFE.
We call him John. And he’s reminding us each day to never stop crying out against the chaos and fear, against the drunken oaths of kings, the seductive dances of the ignorant and hateful speech of this world, because we live for Christ and “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” And, even if we should lose our heads in all this craziness, we take comfort in John’s call present in our own son to “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Because He is near. Near enough to hold each day. A constant reminder, to live like we’re The Last.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9-10
//Reflections on this #FeastDay of #JohnTheBaptist
Until the Day Dawns…