Jesus And The Man Who Ate Locusts

I live a very austere life. I don't listen to secular music, watch television, or watch secular movies. I spend my time listening for God's voice, tucked away from people. My connections are mostly online and at the gospel shows where I sing. I write songs and blog posts, commentary and thoughts on life, the Bible, and the world. Such is the life God has carved out for me. I have trouble with public speaking; I need time alone immersed in my thoughts to write well. It's how I was designed. I speak, but in hushed tones and I sometimes fade into the background. I tend to have health problems, but am disciplined with money and food and am temperate with these things. 

Enter Joe, my husband. He is loud, brash and laughs often. His hair is kind of wild and he doesn't shy away from what life has to offer. He loves God with a passionate love and follows where He leads, which everyday, is into a prison complex. It's a scary place most of us will never see. He sees violence and fighting, boredom and mayhem, a mixture between the two world of nothingness and gory bedlam. He never sits still. He eats and drinks enough for three or four people and he is strong like an ox. He never met a cheeseburger he didn't like. 

And sometimes people don't like us. We're gospel singers, we love the word, and sometimes people reject what God has called us to do. 

Have you ever felt that way? Sometimes people will say it's your austerity. Sometimes people will say you're not austere enough. 

I tell you all of this to tell you about a man who ate locusts and dressed in camel hair and who lived in the desert. He was a man who preached repentance and who made a path for the Son of God. And the people were offended by him. 

When Jesus came, He was not austere, rather, He came eating and drinking. He went to parties, was social, and some people were just as upset. You would have to read the entire 11th chapter of Matthew to get the gist, but basically Jesus is not pleased. He sent John, He Himself was the Son of God, and yet, the people were not pleased either way.

And that's sometimes just the way it is. Who they're rejecting isn't you or me, but God. Let that sink in for a minute. 

Jesus says that their judgment will be worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the great miracles which had done in them. He asks the people what they went out in the wilderness to see, a reed shaken with the wind, a man dressed in fine clothes, a prophet? Was it a mere spectacle to them? A show?

Jesus doesn't do gimmicks. Plain and simple. He doesn't put on. He doesn't have to. I have been tempted to do more or be more or have more than what I am naturally in order to prove or show that God has sent me to do something. For example, with the gospel message I can sense when a person isn't responsive and have wanted to go all out to show them something, something above and beyond the great life-giving message of salvation. But God says it isn't necessary. 

Jesus actually says that those who don't drop all and pick up their cross and follow Him aren't worthy. Cheapening the message by adding more and more and more to do it does no favors to the gravity of what the cross is worth. What Jesus is worth. It runs into people-pleasing, bending over backwards and trying to drag others kicking and screaming into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus isn't taking hostages or prisoners. He takes whosoever will, not whosoever we connive and manipulate and wow into joining Him.

That's just not how it works. 

You're free to be you and I'm free to be me and the rejection of the people is not an indication that we've done anything wrong. It's not an indication that we need to adjust or just simply try harder. Jesus doesn't need a production or a show because He is enough. You are enough and He sends you. That should give us pause. 

We offer something worthy when we offer Jesus and we don't need to do a tap dance to entice people in. We can put our batons down and put our tap shoes away. We can wipe off the makeup and the glitz and simply, humbly be what Jesus called us to be and know if it's too much or not enough it's God they're rejecting. And while it is sad, they will have to answer to Him. Not us. We are never to judge.

And so take heart that even the sinless, perfect Son of God was rejected and that you can stop following the traditions of man in order to fit in. Jesus was not a people-please and you needn't be either. You are acceptable to God whether you go to parties, eating and drinking or whether you eat locusts and live in the wilderness. It is up to the people to decide whether or not to follow Jesus. That should take a tremendous weight off of all of our shoulders. 

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