Have you ever gone to an event in a major city and passed by that guy who stands on the street corner yelling into a megaphone? Sometimes it is a spiritual message like the end of the world, or the need for repentance. Sometimes it is someone trying to sell you something or maybe even someone who is just a little bit delusional. But typically our response is to move to the other side of the street to avoid, “megaphone guy.”
But what motivates “megaphone guy” to do what he does? Have you ever thought about that? Why is he out there in the cold or heat, enduring the disdain of many onlookers, proclaiming a message that most people seem to be ignoring? Good question isn’t it? We don’t know what motivates them to do what they do. But it must be pretty important to them, or they wouldn’t go through all that trouble.
There was a man from Scripture that I think we sometimes compare with “megaphone guy.” His name was John the Baptist. He was definitely out there on the fringe of society. He hung out in the wilderness, wore clothes made out of camel’s hair, ate locusts and wild honey and preached a message of repentance and that the kingdom of Heaven was near.
But one big difference between John the Baptist and “megaphone guy” was that people didn’t go across to the other side of the street to pass by, they gathered round. John’s ministry was very popular. Many people flocked to hear his message and to be baptized. Some even thought that he was the Messiah. There were some who didn’t like his message, and eventually he was imprisoned and beheaded because of what he said, but he was very popular with the people.
However, when Jesus showed up, many people stopped following John and began following Jesus. This made some of John’s followers a little upset. They didn’t want Jesus taking over their turf. But John had a very amazing response. He said, “He must become greater, I must become less.” John wasn’t jealous of Jesus, and he didn’t look at their ministries as if it was a competition. He wanted Jesus to succeed. He even saw his ministry as being all about pointing people to Jesus.
What a great attitude. And it is that attitude that we are going to look at this Sunday as we take a look at John the Baptist as part of our “Lessons from the Life of Christ” series. See you Sunday.