(By Ricky Scaparo) We all know that God has a plan for our lives, and it is of Good and not of Evil. However what happens when we are walking in our destiny and pursuing our assignment with an expectation that things will end the way we perceive but in reality it begins to look like the exact opposite? And if and when it does happen in our walk with God how will we respond? Will you continue to believe that God is in control or will you lose faith? When we dig deeper into the story of John the Baptist, I believe we can see a period in his life that this very thing occurred. The Word of God tells us that John the Baptist was called by God before he was even born and was destined to be a “Voice crying in the Wilderness” to the people of Israel.
Luke 1:15-17 – For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
So we can see here in this passage above that John was called with an assignment from the beginning. As John grew in Spirit and in wisdom, he began to see his calling come to fruition in the Wilderness of Israel. He began to fulfill the very prophecy spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah that foretold of one who would come and be a “Voice crying in the Wilderness” that would ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Making His paths straight. Every valley would be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places would be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh would see the salvation of God. The Bible says that the multitudes in the surrounding regions came to hear him preach a message of repentance and were baptized in the waters of Jordan for the remission of their sins even baptising the “Son of God” Jesus Christ and pointing his disciples to the “Lamb that would take away the sins of the World”.
While John was preaching and baptising, he began to rebuke strongly the religious leaders of that day which was the pharisees, saducees, and lawyers of that time. John stated: “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” –Luke 3
We then discover that John has an encounter with Herod the tetrarch who was named to the throne by Augustus upon the death of his father, Herod the Great, in 4 BC, and subsequent Ethnarch rule by his brother, Herod Archelaus, Antipas ruled Galilee and Perea as a client state of the Roman Empire. John begins to rebuke him for sleeping with his brother’s wife and all the other evils Herod had committed. As a result of this John was put in prison. As time passed while he was there an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”
As a result of this John was ultimately beheaded for his witness and testimony to the Lord. He became a martyr. Now I want to show you something that happened before John was beheaded that will bring this message to you and I. You see while John was locked up Jesus came on the scene after being baptised by John at the Jordan and began to raise up disciples and performing Signs, Wonders, and Miracles. Let’s take a look at this below:
Luke 7:18-22 – Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Now did you catch that? How could John the Baptist who stood in the very same river of Jordan as the Messiah and baptise him in front of the multitudes and even point his disciples to Jesus telling them that the prophesied Messiah had come to “take away the sins of the world” and then turn right around and question whether he was truly the Messiah after all? The answer is this. John had done everything right and walked out his assignment, but I believe when persecution came resulting in imprisonment and “Death Row” he began to go through a very dark hour and his faith was beginning to diminish and possibly even became offended over the outcome.
Perhaps John didn’t expect to finish his race by imprisonment and death and as a result, it shook his very faith to the core. Let me ask you this. Perhaps you’re reading this, and you are like John you are doing everything right. You’re walking in your assignment but nothing is going the way YOU expected it. The money is not coming, The Ministry is not flourishing, Your friends have turned against you, People have walked away. Your marriage is dissolving despite your constant prayers and faith in restoration. Perhaps a loved one died that you have been believing that God would heal? As a result of many of these things many people lose faith, become offended and fall away from their walk with God. Listen, my friend, I have been there! Despite the circumstances that are happening right now, If you are walking in the will of God I can assure you that God is in control and has ordered your very footsteps regardless of how things may look or the outcome you didn’t expect!