Savages for the Kingdom
A few weeks ago, I was reading about John the Baptist in the Gospel of Matthew. His ministry was one of boldness and a foreshadowing of the powerful Messiah cousin he was paving the way for all to see.
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'"
He was a herald of God’s word, calling all who would listen to repent. He lived a meager and some would say savage existence out in the wilderness.
“Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. “
He was a messenger of hope and grace to those who would humble themselves, own the depths of their own sin, and ask for forgiveness from a holy and merciful God.
Those who refuse were rebuked, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
As I read these passages from Matthew 3,I am convicted. Am I a savage for the Gospel? Will I call people to repent? Will I rebuke those around me who presume they are righteous?
The Christian Church has historically been a place of refuge for those in need and for those who are humble of heart. It has also been a place to train savages to go into the wilderness to seek and save the lost. We are part of a tradition of seek and rescue missions on the fringes of society.
So lets throw off the status quo and model our lives after John the Baptist. I’m not saying we change our diet, but I am saying that we become more savage for the kingdom of God.