By: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Matthew 11:2-11
Reflection—v. 7 ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at?’

Jesus is talking about John the Baptist, that rough-around-the-edges, tells-it-like-it-is, dirty, baptizing, eat-what-you-find, back-roads prophet, as he asks the crowd ‘what did you go out into the wilderness to look at?’ If you were looking for someone in soft robes–you should have checked the palace, he says, you won’t find someone like that out here. If you are expecting guidance to come from a three-piece suit, try downtown or the courthouse. Would you prefer your prophetic word to be packaged a little fancier? Try Ponce City Market or Midtown. No, really, Jesus implores, ‘What then did you go out to see?’ Did you desire to hear something prophetic, or would you prefer soft robes that keep the status quo? John the Baptist was a radical. He spoke the truth, positioned himself on the margins, and ultimately, caused enough good trouble to get himself killed. He called tax collectors and sinners to the wilderness (there at the edges of acceptable society) to change their hearts and lives and prepared the way for the one who would call us all. What are we looking for and where do we seek it? Would we prefer to maintain the status quo and grasp for whatever inkling of power benefits us at the sake of others or do we want to change our hearts and lives? Check yourself and where you seek your guidance. Prophets are often speaking to us from those places we would rather avoid.

Prayer: Radical God, the way is prepared; call us out into wilderness places to hear you.

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