Monday, 16 May 2011

John the Baptist: some theological reflections

John the Baptist, who died a martyr's death, lived a remarkable life.

Although he came from a well to do priestly family, he chose to follow the true path of discipleship, humility, obedience and spirituality.  He could have enjoyed the comfortable life among the priests and leaders.  We know that he had great influence for he had disciples, had the ear of the mighty Herod and the Pharisees, and he attracted many to his baptismal area at Bethany (John 1:28) and Aenon near Salem in the River Jordan, where the waters ran deep (John 3:23).  I would argue that he used "much water" to give his followers much more than a sprinkling!

Unlike certain high profile prosperity gospel preachers, John the Baptist did not wear expensive garments.  His diet was not haute cuisine.  He did not travel, as far as we know, in the most expensive means of transport available. He did not pull his punches when it came to speaking the truth, even if it meant offending those in authority and those who had secular and religious power over the people.  He did not seek financial prosperity by toadying and asking for enormous contributions for his ministry.  He even advised the soldiers to be content with their wages.  He did not offer them a plan for career development, financial prosperity plus wonderful relationships with people who had status, wealth and honour in high places/luxurious palaces.

John's path took him to prison and death.  Properity preachers often plan a path to get ahead in this life.  John the Baptist lost his!

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