John the Baptist, a Model Disciple
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I. John exemplifies a Disciple’s faithfulness with the Truth and being pleasing to God
Lk 7:26 "But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 27 "This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 28 "For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
Consumed with zeal for God Jn 5:35 "He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
ÞGod thoroughly delights in His faithful servants
A. A Disciple fearlessly speaks the Truth even when it’s unpopular Lk 3:19 Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.
Mr 6:18 For John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife." (Lev 20:21; Rm 7:1-3)
ÞThe Biblically correct view is rarely politically correct. (esp sex and marriage today)
B. A Disciple loves in accord with the Truth even though hated by those he/she loves
Mk 6:19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Lk 7:33 John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
ÞWe can’t please people but we can always please God by loving people as He would. (What does God want in this person’s life?)
C. A Disciple suffers for doing what was right Mt 17:12 "But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." Mk 6:27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother 1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil
1Pe 4:19 let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
ÞSince it’s impossible to escape suffering and disappointment in this life, you might as well make difficulties pay off in the next life.
II. A Disciple Triumphs over Self and Doubt
A. A Disciple is accomplished in the fine art of Self-denial
Mt 3:4 And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
Lk 9:23 Then He said to them all: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me
ÞDon’t train yourself to like what’s not good for you. Hold everything with an open hand. (Ps 145:16) Turn upside down every now and then.
B. A Disciple has a Proper self image: starting with a proper view of God and man Mt 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" Jn 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease.
ÞHe’s God, we’re not. We exist for His pleasure and glorification, not our own.
C. A Disciple understands dependence and purpose Jn 3:27 John answered "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him
ÞEverything we have is on loan from God (life/time, family, position, stuff); we’re just stewards of His property (who must give account)
D. A Disciple learns that Joy results from choosing what is best (not just rejoicing over salvation, but in intimate relationship with God)
Jn 3:29 the friend of the bridegroom, who stands & hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
ÞWe need a paradigm shift to value righteous and consequent eternal reward, rather than immediate temporal gratification.
E. A Disciple learns that clouds of doubt are driven away by the light of Truth (explains all the facts: Revelation/Reason/Reality)
Luke 7:20 "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’" 21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. 22 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."
ÞDon’t doubt in the dark what you’ve seen in the light (better yet, keep the light on)
ÞRule #1: God always gives us all we need to know and do His will. Rule #2: If in doubt about God’s will, see Rule #1.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. Why does God allow those most pleasing and precious to Him to suffer? (Job 1:8-9)
2. Why does God’s timing (apparent delays) cause disciples to doubt, suffer, and despair?
3. What’s the correct response when God doesn’t answer as you would desire?
4. What characteristics of John the Baptist could you integrate into your life to make you more useful and pleasing to you Master?