As I read Scripture, I'm especially surprised by how people responded to John the Baptizer.
I don't know if this is right or not, but I've always envisioned John with hairy legs sticking out from a furry camel suit, long, dark hair flying in every direction, piercing eyes blazing with the fire of God. I'm pretty sure his appearance was super-intimidating, but it's his words that make me shudder, even now.
I've been around a few camels. I even rode a camel once and thought it was fun. I didn't think the camel smelled good, though. I don't know about camel suits, but I doubt they were aesthetically pleasing. I'm not sure John was, either.
On the day that surprises me, John was dressed in his camel hair outfit with the big leather belt wrapped around him. Hair going in every direction. Eyes boring into people's souls. Words slashing through the air faster than a bevy of swords. (The Leanna Paraphrase coming up is from Luke 3:7-14)
"You brood of vipers..."
"The ax is laid at the root of the trees..."
The multitudes were shocked. "What are we to do?"
"Give away your extra tunic."
As if giving away your extra clothes was not bad enough, the tax collectors said, "What about us? What should we do?"
"Don't collect anything extra."
I don't know if John needed a security team for crowd control or if they had come to see for themselves, but there were soldiers in the crowd that day, too. Just to be sure you understand, these were not romantic, tenderhearted guys.
Roman soldiers were the toughest of the tough, the first century version of our marines. They had great leeway in their interactions with the populace. They could falsely accuse someone, then demand a bribe, and be assured of getting it. They could double fines and skim the extra.
It was so common as to be expected that the soldiers had free reign and limited consequences. If they wanted more money than they were paid, they could demand and receive it. And they did.
Maybe they thought that giving up a tunic or collecting less money were tasks for the average man. Maybe John's talk of the wrath of God had put them in a repentant frame of mind. Maybe the Holy Spirit was at work.
Regardless, the soldiers were as bold as lions. These men wanted soldier-sized tasks to do for God. "What about us? What are we to do?" the soldiers asked.
Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?..." (Luke 3:14 NASB)
Isn't that a great question? They weren't just hearers. It seems they wanted to be doers, too.
There was no doubt that John would have instructions for them, and that his instructions would be tough, but they didn't want to be left out. If the Kingdom of God was at hand, they wanted to do what it took to be a part.
I wonder sometimes if I am as willing to be a part of the Kingdom of God. If I am as willing to ask, "Give me a task for you, Lord. Send me. Allow me. What about me?"
Today, let's ask God for a task to do for Him. "What about me? What do I need to do in order to please you, God?"
The Kingdom of God is closer than it's ever been. Time is short. If we're going to serve our Lord, it's time to do it, so start today.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When Our Hearts Are Revealed
Here's the link to the trafficking post: The Heartbreak of Human Trafficking
Here's the link to the prayer guide: The Prayer List
Here's the link to my Global Outreach page: Leanna Hollis MD