This morning I preached from Mark 1:1-8. These are the opening verses of the Gospel according to Mark, and they contain a whole lot of Good News from God for His people.
One of the things I noted was that the central character of this passage, John the Baptist, hardly looks like God's leading messenger. Out in the wilderness, dressed in rough clothing and eating a diet that, quite frankly, doesn't attract my taste buds. If God wants to reach lots of people shouldn’t the messenger go to the places where all the people are, dressing and living in ways that show he fits in, so that people will listen to him?
Perhaps. As we read this passage we do see that many people are hearing about John and coming out to the wilderness to see him. To listen to him. And as unlikely as it seems, he must be having some effect, as people are repenting of their sin, confessing their sin, in response to God's message, as delivered through John.
What about today? Is God still calling on people to repent, to turn away from sin and turn towards Him? Absolutely. Is he still using messengers? Again, absolutely. And who are His messengers?
Some of them are fairly obvious, people such as myself, who are called to serve churches as their pastors, coming to the pulpit Sunday after Sunday and preaching God's word. Bringing the Good News of Jesus to people in many other ways during the course of the week.
But there are other messengers as well. People who may think of themselves as fairly unlikely messengers, if they think of themselves as messengers of God in the first place. These are the people sitting in the pews, Sunday after Sunday. They are people who know first-hand the presence of the King of Kings in their lives. They are people who love the Lord. They are people who know God, who love God, and who have the ability to share a bit of that knowledge, a bit of that love, with other people.
Every one of those unlikely messengers has a different part of the story of God to tell, and a different way to tell it. And as they tell their stories they lead others to experience the powerful move from unbelief to faith. They become a means that will God use to bring change in lives, The eternal change that comes when Jesus is not some abstract person, or the main character of an obscure book, but Savior and Lord.
Praise God for His messengers, both the likely ones, and especially the unlikely ones. may it be your blessing to serve God as His messenger today.
(The picture above is of two of God's messengers, one of whom wasn't told why to pose for the picture.)
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.