I can’t get this man out of my mind this year.
Here’s a man who held the world in his hand. Where he was, crowds gathered. When he spoke, people listened. When he baptized, people changed. How he led, disciples grew. The Pharisees, scribes, priests, and leaders of the world ventured down to the Jordan River to witness it—the man who was turning the world upside down. Was he the Messiah? Could he be the first Prophet in ages?
And at the peak of his ministry, he saw something. The Holy Spirit dropping like a dove. At its descent, he knew his time at the front was fading away. He saw the hand of God move and the true Messiah come. Now was the end of the story for him. A man that we later only heard about in anecdotes like “why do your disciples fast and Jesus’ don’t?” And a nasty ordeal with Herod’s wife and daughter.
What came of this man as he sat in prison and doubted everything? What ran through his mind that made him fall to his knees and cry aloud, “Is Jesus the true Son of God? Did I make a mistake?”
A man with the world in his hand. A man that gave it all up for Jesus. And a man that doubted everything in his weakest state. A man that Jesus wept over.
Am I a man that can let go of reason and understanding? Am I a man that can give up any sense of power for the genuine movement of God? Can I see the Holy Spirit descending and quietly disappear into the distance? Will I doubt at my weakest state? Will I overcome?
I’ve watched a lot of Batman lately. The good kind. The kind that always inspired me. Not this recent rubbish that has him walking slow, ominous, and evil. But the Dark Knight Trilogy that had a deeper understanding of Batman’s sacrifice. The kind of writing that carried words like “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”, and “Maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day”. The kind of writing that saw Batman become the villain in the city’s eyes so that they could have hope.
I can do those things. Gotham deserves better. And I’ve made choices myself, ones that will inspire my children and those closest to me, but on the surface may look like the villain.
But maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day.
When I look at our world today—in this time of 2022—I see a people who are so tired of lying to others and themselves. We don’t trust anyone, yet somehow we entrust the entire world with our every waking thought, emotion, and action. “Here you are, world, my self-esteem, value, and worth. Do with it what you will.” Meanwhile, we don’t trust a word out of our leaders, politicians, pastors, business owners, judges, scientists, and spouses. Trust is dead, because Truth became a choice. Nothing but words.
Words are nothing. Words are not God. Though Jesus is named the Word of God, He is not bound by them. He is the power behind them. Just as the curse came from the building of letters, and freedom from the unction of the spirit.
And with zero coercion and manipulation, will the true leaders of the Word stand up. Whether in front of many or not—they will stand at the end. Let the whole world burn, but those who carry integrity, honor, and faithfulness—they will have the stamina to make it.
Our culture, meanwhile, screams the opposite. Followers and Fashion. Likes and Views. More numbers, more pats on the back. More media, More knowledge.
But Followers don’t mean Disciples
Fashion doesn’t mean Worth
Likes don’t mean Love
Views don’t mean Value
Numbers don’t mean Health
Knowledge doesn’t mean wisdom.
God is Love. But too often we mistake Love as God. And in so doing, trap ourselves in all sorts of idolatry and selfish manipulation.
Pride and Insecurity.
Can I disappear like John the Baptist? Can I go here forward and live a quiet life? One with working of the hands and minding my own business? Can I disappear with humility?
God help those I leave behind.
The Admiral, the Captain, and the True Leader find themselves in a place where no other human has. The place where one knows what it feels like to take over command from another, and carry the vision, keep your head down, and drive the battalion forward, against all odds, and without full understanding—believing in the mission more than the circumstance. And with that command comes the knowledge that at any moment, any change of the winds, authority and purpose may be stripped away and disappear into the fray.
I can’t get this man, John the Baptist, out of my mind. Out of my veins. Out of my actions.