Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Man's Man

Many people have a bucket list of things they want to do before they die. I have a list for after I die. Mainly, it involves the people I want to see when the Lord takes me home.

For one, I'm looking forward to catching up with my loved ones whom Jesus has brought home. It will be amazing to see Mom and Dad in glory, especially when my last memory of each is marred by the ravages of their cancers.

Next, I'd like to spend some time gazing at the angels in heaven. Apart from the Baby of Bethlehem Himself, nothing fascinates me more about Christmas than the angel hosts proclaiming His birth to shepherds and glorifying God in chorus.

Third, I have a list of people from the Bible I'm eager to meet: Mary and Joseph, to be sure, along with the shepherds and wise men. But one man who has always intrigued me is John the Baptist. I'm eager to look him in the eye and thank him for the impact he's made on me.

To me, John was a man's man. First, he lived out in the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey. Then he took on the tough job of preparing stubborn, self-righteous people for a Savior they saw no need for. This included challenging proud Jewish religious leaders like King Herod, whom he called out for taking his brother's wife as his own, even though he risked imprisonment and execution to do so.

It was probably inevitable that such a strong man of God would be a magnet for young men moved by the Spirit to faith. A group of disciples attached themselves to John, and were so jealous for his sake that they got upset when Jesus began drawing the crowds away from their teacher.

It's John's humble reaction then that I admired most. He likened Jesus to a groom and himself to that groom's best man. "The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease" (see John 3:29-30). John knew Jesus was his God and Savior, and He deserved all the attention. That's what truly great men of God always do, lead people to the only One who can save them: Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior.

But this wasn't the first time John rejoiced greatly in the presence of his Lord and Savior. Mary had just been visited by the angel Gabriel, and Jesus had recently been miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was beginning to grow in her womb. She rushed off to visit John's mother Elizabeth and his father Zechariah. John was still unborn at the time, six months along in his mother's womb. But the moment Mary greeted Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit filled him, and he leaped with great joy in the presence of the Son of God, his Lord.

We can all know that same thrill and great rejoicing this Christmas as the Holy Spirit of God brings us again to gaze upon the Christ Child in Bethlehem's manger.

Actually, that makes me want to redo my bucket list for heaven. Before I talk to John the Baptist, admire the beauty of the angels, or see my parents, I want to feel that wondrous awe of gazing upon the beauty, glory and majesty of our Holy God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

What's on your bucket list? You can tell us by clicking here!

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