Narrow-minded John expressed loud and unmistakable intolerance of sin and the power it has over every human being - and narrow-mindedly pointed to Jesus Christ as The Only One Who can conquer sin, guilt, and death for us. John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the remission of sin.
True to the definition, John's narrow-mindedness – in the purest sense of that term – is characterized by narrow views or sentiments - views and sentiments as narrow as the apostle Paul expressed when he wrote to the CORINTHIANS (I-2:1-2), “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” You cannot be any more narrowly focused than that – but the narrow focus is the only one that can carry us into eternal fellowship in the visible Presence of God.
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the coming of The Lord – calling everyone to recognize that we are incapable of earning our own salvation … to recognize that only Jesus Christ and Him crucified can save us … calling us to the Baptismal waters where Jesus Christ cleanses us and makes our lives eternal.
And John the Baptist includes himself in that human category for when Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptized by John, the first words from John’s mouth were “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”(MATTHEW 3:14)
Yes, John the Baptist is the most narrow-minded and the most politically incorrect individual we know.
Political correctness always depends on the political or pleasure definitions of the person defining it. It is always political or self-serving and usually it is either incorrect or dishonest or both.
Violate the 21st Century code of political correctness and it could get you ostracized or fired or drummed out of some social position or cause the nativity scene to be taken from your desk.
In John’s day, the definition of political correctness was whatever Rome and those who received their power from Rome said it was. Remember Pilate’s rhetorical question to Jesus – “What is truth?” (JOHN 18:38) Both Jesus and Pilate knew that for Pilate the answer to that question was “truth is whatever Pilate and Rome say it is today”. When John the Baptist challenged Herod’s belief that he was above God’s Law and condemned the behavior that grew out of that belief, Herod warned him to be silent. When John refused to back down on his truthful, but politically incorrect, message, Herod first imprisoned and then beheaded John the Baptist.
During my years as a pastor the biggest change I have seen in society in terms of faith and morality is not that society has become less faithful and more sinful – faithlessness and sin began in Eden and have always been part of the human condition. The biggest change has been the ever-increasing number of people who are unwilling to call evil evil and sin sin – or to even admit God’s Word is truly relevant in all discussions.
Politically incorrect and narrow-minded – John the Baptist knew what Jesus meant when He said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (MATTHEW 7:13-14) John also knew what that narrow gate into eternal relationship with God is - or rather Who it is. Jesus Himself said it there in the upper room on the night of His betrayal when He proclaimed, “I am The Way, and The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to The Father, but by Me.” (JOHN 14:6) We are blessed by God with the freedom to choose – and the gap between the choices could not be wider.
Politically incorrect and narrow-minded, John also appeared to be a man with no visible means of support. I say he appeared to be that way because of where and how he lived. He lived in the Judean wilderness – that vast area which is totally devoid of human and natural resources. He wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
(MATTHEW 3:4) Yes, his diet featured those hopping, long-legged, crunch when you step on them herbivore insects he found on the fringes of the wilderness. His garment was not the most comfortable to wear and not the most pleasurable to be around in hot wilderness weather.
Not only John’s spoken word, but the very way he lived his life, testified to the fact that in this temporal stage of life and in all of eternity all he needed was Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist also appears to have only one talent – but what a talent. God Himself, through the prophet ISAIAH (40:3-5), described John as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of The Lord’”. John the Baptist was that voice – that one talent man.
John the Baptist was equipped by The Holy Spirit to preach one unchanging, very basic, narrowly focused message - the most important message any human being could ever hear.
Speaking through John the Baptist, God proclaimed the eternal life and eternal relationship with God can only come through Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Jesus suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins which separate us from God and rose from the dead to proclaim the eternal victory He gained for us. And John the Baptist was the voice sent to announce God was arriving to do those things. And so God came in the past as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ – as God promised through John The Baptist.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS AND HIM CRUCIFIED FOR OUR TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL SALVATION. AMEN.
Third Sunday In Advent
December 16, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio