What did you go out into the wilderness to see?

Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? ... A man dressed in fine clothes? ... A prophet?" [Matthew 11:7-9 NIV]

Sometimes the questions that Jesus asks are more revealing than his answers. In these question he hits on three expectations than we all have of our religious leaders. We want them to be relevant, adapting to the times. We want them to look good. And most of all we desire them to be a man or woman of God.

Expectations often blind us to understanding God's will. The Baptist was not swayed by religious tradition. He looked more like a wild man than a preacher. Yet, to those who came hungry for God, he was a prophet. Those who heard his preaching were moved by the Holy Spirit. Others rejected him and God's will.

This last group reminds me of me in my younger years. I held a fairly rigid view of what it meant to be a leader. I did want a relevant and externally presentable man of God. Yet the thing that ensnared me the most was what it meant to be a man of God. Years later my eyes opened to what that phrase meant.

Lord, give us discernment regarding the leaders that we choose to follow and listen to.

... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.

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