John the Baptist is one of those interesting characters of Scripture. He wore camel hair and ate locust-honey “cakes”. He called everyone to repent. People came from miles around to see him, and many were baptized by him. He was definitely a famous person.
Was it the show, or were there really seeking and repentant hearts? The answer is yes. For many, it was the show. For others it what a form of seeking that was different than the weight of the Law that many carried.
What about John, though?
He was drawing crowds. He could have been something more than just a guy in the wilderness. Yet, he chose the Jordan river as the home of his ministry. He chose the untamed wilderness to call people to repentance. It wasn’t like he couldn’t have done something more. Yet, as his disciples questioned (basically) why he didn’t “stand up” to Jesus for taking “his” followers away, we see the heart of John. It wasn’t for himself. It was for God.
It was for Jesus! It’s so easy for us to look back and say that obviously John did that for Jesus. Yet, we look around us at famous people (politicians, company executives, entertainers, even pastors), and when push really came to shove would they dump it all for Jesus? We’d think it would be easy for pastors. They are human, too. Success is attractive, and pastors want to be successful, too.
John’s humility, though, was significant. Israel’s redemption was indeed the goal. His ministry was a stepping stone, and even Jesus noted that John’s ministry of repentant baptism was necessary to fulfill all righteousness.
1) Where have you been successful in life? If you are in a place of success now, how sure would you be to drop it all if Jesus were to call on you to do that?
2) How was John’s ministry not successful? How was John’s ministry successful?
3) What is the difference between worldy success and Godly success (if there is any)? If they are different, how do you define success for yourself, family members, or the church?