What kind of God do you want? Or to put it a different way, what kind of God do you believe in?
John the Baptist was expecting one kind of God. A God who will bring punishment.
John talked extensively to the crowds about what God is like and what God is going to do when the Messiah comes.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:10
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12
John’s expectation was that God was going to show up angry and kick butt. It was clear that he was passionate about this, and he was convinced that some people were going to face a literal “come to Jesus” moment in their lives. He even called the religious leaders of the day a “brood of vipers.”
John believed in an angry God. A God who will wreak vengeance and judgment on all his perceived enemies.
Then Jesus comes, and doesn’t meet John’s expectations. After John was arrested by Herod Antipas the Roman appointed leader of parts of Israel, John sends a few followers to go ask Jesus if he is the actual Messiah (the chosen one of God).
John is having his doubts because Jesus isn’t doing the things he thought a Messiah should be doing.
When these followers of John asked Jesus if he was the “real deal”, he responded this way…
“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the person who does not fall away on account of me.” Matthew 11:4-6
Do you see the disconnect between John the Baptist’s expectations and the reality of Jesus Christ’s actual agenda? There is a huge ideological gap between the two.
Humans are really good at making God in our own image. We sometimes convince ourselves that God hates the same people we do and despises the same ideas we do. We want God to punish our enemies or at least smite those we disagree with on any major topic.
Instead of creating a God that looks like a superhuman version of ourselves, we should turn to the scriptures to see what God is really like.
When we read the gospel stories of Jesus, we discover a God who loves, forgives and is always present in our time of need.
Jesus wants to draw close to ALL people and not just the people we agree with. Jesus was willing to die to make that happen.
God bless you,