Why do you do the things that you do? Are you acting on the dreams in your heart? Are you living out the desires God has formed? Are you being obedient to a call? You are? What gives you the right?
I BAPTIZE WITH WATER
(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Here we are again, standing on the banks of the muddy Jordan, watching a drama unfold. The Pharisees in Jerusalem have sent their minions to trick John in to a confession. “Who are you?” they have already asked. “If you’re not the Christ (Messiah), then are you Elijah or the Prophet?” “No,” John has said.
Now they ask, “well, if you’re not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet, then why are you baptizing?”
What authority do you have to do this thing that you are doing?
Isn’t this a question we are asked all the time, in one form or another? Isn’t this a question we ask ourselves?
WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT?
Anytime we step out courageously to do the things we’re called to do–anytime we follow dreams, or act in obedience, or cut a path counter to the current of our culture, anytime we hold to beliefs that are unpopular, or do a thing which others condemn, any time we follow the Holy Spirit down uncharted paths there are voices both in and out of our heads: “why are you doing this? What makes you think you can do this? What authority do you think that you have?” The path that we have been called to, or the path that we have chosen, the choices we have sacrificed to make, the dreams we have pursued and the dreams we have set on hold to pursue a greater path–all can, and will, be questioned.
What are your dreams? Callings? Desires? What path have you been commanded down, what burns in your heart? What do you try to leave behind that just keep cropping up? Has God called you to something? Do you find yourself returning again and again to a seed buried in the soil, a seed you’ve tried to neglect but find it just won’t die? What is God birthing in your heart?
Whatever it is (or whatever they are) if it is a true path–true and right and good–this accusation will not be far behind.
THE ACCUSATION AND RESPONSE
You’re not X, Y, Z. So why do you try?
“Why do you baptize if you’re not the Christ, or Elijah, or the Prophet?”
There’s no defense spoken. John simply describes his actions and then points to Christ.
“I baptize. Among you stands one you do not know.”
I write. Among you stands one you do not know.
Why do you do the thing that you do, and why do you want to do the thing for which you’re still working up courage?
You do it, and you will do it. Among us stands one we do not know.
WE GLORIFY HIM
He has the authority but he invested it in us, and we must do the thing. It’s as simple as that. We do it because he put us in this spot, at this time, in this river, with these people, and Jesus is on the banks. We do it because we were made to do it and there’s no need to defend. We do it because we are Way-Makers in a wilderness of sorrow, death, and sin. We do it because it brings life, both to our own heart and the hearts of others. We do it because it is simply who we are. We do it because who we are glorifies him. We do it because in doing it we are making him known.