Sunday, December 16, 2007

John the Baptist

Matthew 11:1-12:

And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he passed from thence, to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a man greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Both history and Scripture tell us that John the Baptist-the man Christ in his own day said was the greatest man ever born of woman-was not a popular figure with the political establishment of his time. Herod Antipas wanted to shut John up because he knew that the things John said were true, and he could not bear the thought that he might answer to God for his actions.

Certain of our political leaders are not unlike Herod. Truth does nothing but expose their inadequacies, but they would rather shut their opponents up than face the truth. In Herod's case, certain women in his life led him around and told him what to do about John. Herod had no spine.



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