Written By: Kevin Jackson
Tall tales of people that appear larger than life surround us every day. Our movies are filled with them. Sometimes we read about someone that is too good to be true and stories about things that seem unbelievable.
This is such a story, about a man that lived as a recluse most of his life. A man people looked upon as some sort of myth. The stories about him were fabled and unbelievable. No one knew what was true and what was pure fiction. Was this man a God? Was he the Savior? However, the gossip and stories did not really matter to him. It only added to his legend. It only added to his followers.
Our story begins with a prisoner, sitting in his cell waiting for his fate to be revealed. He was larger than life and ultimately it got him put away. Was he misunderstood, was he truly a criminal? He did not really care. He was focused on his mission. He had been told his entire life what his purpose was and he frankly did not give a flip about what people thought about him.
Now he sits here, in his dirty jail cell. This was not some country club white-collar detention center. This was a pit of despair. The roughest of the rough were put down here. Wet, dirty, dark and depressing. There were no TV privileges, no time out in the yard, just a jail cell 24/7 for who knows how long. This was hard time. It gave a man a lot of time to think about his life, his mission and his future.
As he thought back on his life, he knew he had lived a good one. Although he never married, many people loved him. He was special and he knew it. His mother was told she would never have any children her entire life. You see the prisoner was born when his parents were very old. Therefore, odds are he was on his own for most of his life. When he was younger, he quickly turned against society and the traditions of the day. He was a rebel, an outsider. He had left home and lived in the wilderness, homeless. He did not want any part of what society had become. He lived with the poor. He ate bugs and honey because money was nothing to him. Worldly stuff, he thought. “He was bigger than that, he was beyond this world”. His mother had told him that he was special, sent by God to save all people and he believed it.
People in the towns knew him as a man who lived out in the countryside and would preach about God, the coming of Christ and sin. Most thought he was just a crazy person who lived alone in the woods, somehow knew things and said things no one else had the guts to say. He called out people, EVERYONE, when they sinned and it often got him in trouble. No one likes to be called out publicly, especially people of power. They hated him for it and that only made his legend grow.
People were telling of stories of prophecies, miracles, preaching. “Did you hear about the man who lived in the woods?” “I heard he might be God, he might be the savior”. “I heard he was the prophet Elijah reincarnated.” I heard he preached to a 10,000 people.”
Whispers grew loud. Stories became unimaginable. He did not care. He only cared about telling people the truth. Honesty and guidance, that is all that matter to him. He did not let anybody get away with anything. There was no grey area to God’s laws. He was sent to save people from their sins and persecute those who disobeyed.
In his mind, the prisoner was royalty, God’s royalty, him and his entire family. Especially his cousin. He felt they were sent to this world to show people how to live. Unashamed, unafraid.
This led him to where he was today. Alone, jailed. Was he crazy? He did not believe so. He knew who he was. It was the rest of the world that was fallen. The reason he was in jail now was that he spoke the truth against the wrong man. Yeah, they all let this crazy man preach his “truth” out in the wilderness. They cared, but to them, frankly he was nothing more than a dirty homeless man that ate bugs and honey. The authorities looked the other way for many years.
Besides, even with his unabashed honesty, he was a charming man of sorts. The King liked him, truth be told. Even after he called him out for his affair and made it public knowledge. It made the King mad, but he also did not care much what people thought of him. That is probably what why he had a soft spot for John. They had that in common. However, ohh…. the Kings new wife was having none of that. She was disgraced and embarrassed. She was not going to let some weird religious freak spread rumors about her. She wanted his head, literally.
She eventually got it, on a platter. Although King Herod liked the prisoner, there is nothing like a woman scorn.
However, John the Forerunner, AKA John the Baptist knew he had fulfilled his calling. He had brought thousands to love God and follow his cousin Jesus. In addition, not only that, he had baptized Jesus himself.
John was an unashamed man of God. He lived dedicated to God and following God’s path for him, no matter what.
Unashamed, fully committed to God.
He lived dedicated to God and following God’s path for him. Maybe there is a lesson there for all of us.
The story of John The Baptist is described in numerous books in the Holy Bible such as Matthew and Luke. Read more on Bible.com.