“What did you go out into the wilderness to see?”
DC Talk, in their song Jesus Freak, described John the Baptist like this:
There was a man from the desert with naps in his head.
The sand that he walked was also his bed.
The words that he spoke made the people assume
There wasn’t too much left in the upper room.
With skins on his back and hair on his face
They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate.
The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak
Until the king took the head of this Jesus freak.
Many of those who went out to see John the Baptist simply went to see a circus sideshow freak. And Jesus calls them out on it. What did they go out to see? Not somebody who would be found in the palace with the wealthy. John was a prophet – and so much more.
He came in the same vein as all the other prophets, to proclaim the oracles of God. And better than they, John proclaimed that the Kingdom (Jesus) was near. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets; he was the one who was making the way of the Lord.
When we go to church, who are we there to see? Are we there to see a well-polished pastor with a soothing voice? Or are we there to see Jesus?
The pastor you see may not be polished. Maybe he’s a bit of an oddball. Maybe he roots for the Blackhawks over the Blues, or comes from a pumpkin farm, or likes sailing. But just like John the Baptist, the original Jesus Freak, his job is to proclaim the oracles of God, to be a messenger pointing us to Jesus. May we receive that message in faith and be ready to welcome the Christ child into our hearts this Christmas.
Father, prepare my heart for Jesus through the message of Your Word.
Contributed by Rev. Andrew Bartholomew