Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour, by preaching of repentance; Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; And after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen1
What would Jesus Do?
Twenty years ago there was a movement among Evangelicals called What would Jesus Do? Christians would wear rubber WWJD bracelets and try to imagine how Jesus would act in a given situation. The exercise fizzled out without having much long-term impact, perhaps due to the ease in which people create false jesuses of their own making. Biblical illiteracy exacerbates this tendency.
How different things might have been if the rallying cry had been What would John the Baptist do? Almost no one has mistaken ideas about John the Baptist. He openly condemned religious hypocrisy and do-goodism (Matthew 3.7). His clear teaching of the law led people to repent (Matthew 3.6).
How do you think John the Baptist would act today?
Do you think he would be okay with the idea that there are many ways to God?
Do you think he would believe in morality that changes through the years?
Would he keep quiet when he heard about child abusing pastors being protected by conservative and evangelical religious leaders?2
Scripture seems clear that John the Baptist would stand firm and allow himself to be derided and shamed for holding to God’s truth.
And so should you.
Dear Lord, how thankful we are for the example of John the Baptist. Awaken in us a love of your truth, that you might satisfy us from your Word. Teach us to know right from wrong and good from evil. Cleanse us from error. Forgive us for our willingness to compromise. Build in us a courage like that of your servant John the Baptist. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.