Scripture Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. –John 1:24-28
False prophets were abundant in the first century as they are now. The officials of the Jewish faith apparently made a point of challenging prophets that arose and shutting them down if their message was not in line with the Pharisees’ doctrine. My guess is the Pharisees were probably more concerned with prophets who drew large followings than others. John apparently fit that description. I do not know who held the Pharisees accountable. I am sure they would say, God.
To whom are we accountable? I have a weird thing going on with my laptop that the technicians cannot explain. I can be typing along waxing eloquent when suddenly my cursor jumps to somewhere else on the page and sometimes the cursor erases a few lines I wrote. The recover arrow has stored nothing to recover. I must confess I wonder at times if God is trying to tell me something. Is what I am writing off base with what God wants me to say? There is the story in Numbers 22:21-39 of Balaam and the donkey where God sent an angel to stop progress, and only the donkey saw the angel. It would be easier if God autocorrected our work and we never had to worry about it.
God created us as partners in God’s service and expects us to use our hearts and our brains in adapting to God’s wisdom. We are held accountable for what we do by the test of love. Does what we say and do past the test of love?
Sojourners Verse & Voice shared a Thomas Merton quote recently that I do not recall ever reading before, but it speaks God’s wisdom which is a good starting place:
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
Prayer: God, lead me to a deeper understanding of your love and let that understanding seep into my soul so that love is my automatic first response. Amen.