Imagine that you are part of the most important movement in the history of the universe. This unparalleled movement is in its infancy stage, and it is imperative that we drum up enthusiasm and momentum. We will no doubt want to establish our headquarters in a major city, and we’ll need to collaborate with influencers and trend-setters; and we certainly want to ensure that we are “in-the-mix” and “in-the-know” (at the very least we want to be in a place where we have an internet connection).
So first things first, we need to hear from our leader, and get his two-cents on how to get the word out about our movement. But our leader doesn’t show up to the initial interest meetings; instead he sends his cousin to get the ball rolling.
The boss’s cousin texts the group, “Location update …#wilderness [No cell phone coverage. U’ll need to print directions].” You have difficulty finding the designated meeting spot, but eventually you find it. It’s pretty rustic. You wish (at the very least) someone would’ve told you to bring a camping chair, but you manage to find a log to sit on (only to find out later that it was infested with chiggers). The boss’s cousin starts the meeting by saying, “You’re all dead wrong! You’re evil! Repent!” You’re not sure how to feel about this; it’s not exactly what you expected. You look around and notice mixed reactions: some people are clearly offended and annoyed, but most folks simply seem bewildered. You overhear people murmuring things like, “He’s not all there,” and “He’s got a few screws loose.” And you are inclined to agree, because the boss’s cousin is dressed in a camel’s pelt, with nothing but a leather belt holding his ‘outfit’ together, and he’s snacking on bugs and honey as delivers his diatribe.
But, against all odds, people start showing up in droves! Perhaps it’s simply the spectacle of this strange man’s hakuna matata diet & camel’s skin ensemble, but crowds from all over start arriving. And what’s nuts is they seem to be sincerely receptive to what the boss’s cousin is saying! They are taking his piercing words about their depravity to heart, and many of them get baptized by the boss’s cousin!
As crazy as it sounds, the movement seems to be underway! But this draws the attention of the authorities, and it’s not long before officials arrive to investigate. The boss’s cousin brazenly calls the officials “Poisonous snakes, and tells them to repent, or else they will be thrown into the fire of condemnation.” Needless to say, our movement doesn’t sit well with the governing authorities; and we will no doubt be dogged by them till our dying day. There are some people who argue that the boss’s cousin ought to be more diplomatic and winsome, but they’re wasting their breath if they actually think they’ll succeed in changing his style.
One day, the boss’s cousin calls everyone together and says, “I baptize y’all with water for repentance. But my cousin is mightier than me. I’m not even worthy enough to lick the dust off his sandals. He will baptize you with The Holy Spirit and fire! He will gather to Himself those that He loves, and the rest he will burn with unquenchable fire.” The boss sounds intimidating to say the least, and you’re uneasy about someone described in such a domineering way.
You’re toying with the idea of walking away from the organization, but then the boss shows up! …and He’s not at all what you expected. You were imagining a physically imposing person with an unendurable personality, but what you encounter is an extremely normal looking Palestinian Jewish man; and he’s not the forceful formidable type of person you thought he’d be …he certainly exudes a mysterious and other-worldly authority, but he’s also undeniably gentle and meek. This LORD whose sandals we dare not deign to touch, humbly requests to be baptized by his cousin. The boss’s cousin is clearly caught-off-guard and dismayed by this request, and he makes an effort to prevent the boss from the humiliation of this sacrament. But the boss insists, and what can his cousin do but capitulate.
And when the boss receives the baptism of repentance, something unbelievable happens. Literally, you will not believe what I’m about to tell you. When the boss is baptized, the heavens opened to him, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested on him; and a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
So, now what?
Are you in, or are you out? Are you going to commit to this movement?
Let’s just consider the next 7 to 14 days..
Thanksgiving is next week. You’re going to gather with your family and friends. They’re going to ask you, “What’s new with you?” and “What have you been up to?” Do you dare tell them? Do you say, “To tell you the truth, I’ve joined a radical movement. Our boss is the Son of God, and his cousin has been leading our initial interest meetings. You should come check it out. But just a heads-up, the boss’s cousin is a fiery homeless man, and the boss himself is sort of like a wizard and a hobbit mixed together …he’s the most intimidating and humble person you’ll ever encounter. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what I’ve gotten myself into, but you should definitely come with me to one of our meetings!”