And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”
~ Luke 3:10 - 14
It's been a while since Jesus' cousin John has been thought about. John, this curiously different man who ate locusts and honey, and dressed in camel hair. Looking all a mess, this wanderer attracted crowds out in the country and he baptized them, including Jesus.
For those surrounding the resurrected Jesus, John's message was a whole lot more easier to understand about now. Reminding everyone that the "Kingdom of God was at hand," might be a little clearer in the eyes of the Disciples who are now seeing the risen Jesus first-hand.
John's message was about doing what's right. We don't think too much of John after the crucifixion. John, his head the birthday gift on a silver platter at the request of Herodias's daughter, had been gone from the scene for some time now. However, with the resurrection of Jesus and his time now with his Disciples, I'm sure that there were those who were beginning to wonder if John might be next to return.
Just imagine what the people might have been thinking. "I wonder what messenger of God will rise next? What profit? Could it be John the one who was baptizing in the wilderness? What might he be wearing now, and what would his message be?"
Have you ever thought what the message of John, or for that matter, Jesus might be today if they were to show up, and if so, would the world listen? Would they be two men in a new wilderness, dealing with a new generation who, like the Hebrew people who just generations earlier were freed from slavery and brought out of Egypt had forgotten the power of God?
Would John's message to be satisfied in your life's work, and to not take advantage of others, be echoed once again? Would we be rushing home to empty our closets of extra clothes to ensure that others were not naked on the street corner asking for help?
We are reminded it does not take supernatural encounters with God to live this life, or to do these things. Christ dwells within us. That's reason enough to sing, "It is well with my soul," while finding ways to help one another.
We live in a world that is filled with opportunities to be the Kingdom of God being ushered in. It begins with us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, today help to remind me of Your message to love one another, and John's message that Your Kingdom is near and to help one another. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.