John the Baptist and Jesus shared some things. First, they were related. Their mothers were cousins and both had miraculous births announced by angels. Did they get together periodically for family reunions? Did they celebrate holidays together? There’s no indication of that, but we honestly don’t know for sure. We do know that Jesus knew John and John knew Jesus. They also shared a mission. They both wanted to see people saved. Yet their missions took them to different places and they used different methods. Their goals were the same, to follow the will of the Father and to see the Kingdom of God expanded.
Sometimes we look at other churches and their methods are different from the church we attend. You know what? That’s okay as long as the mission is the same, to see the Kingdom of God expanded.
John preached in the wilderness. He dressed in odd clothing and ate odd food. Jesus asked the crowd what they expected to see. Did they expect soft clothing or luxury? That was not John. John was the pre-show. He was setting the stage for the real show and he knew it. He never tried to draw attention to himself. He wanted to shine the attention on the Lamb of God.
“After John’s messengers left, 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? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.’ (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) Jesus went on to say, ‘To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.” For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, “He has a demon.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” But wisdom is proved right by all her children.’” Luke 7:24-35
Jesus explained to the crowd that John was fulfilling the Scripture from Malachi 4 that the messenger would come to prepare the way.
John did not eat or drink anything fancy, and people complained. Jesus ate and drank with sinners at banquets and weddings and the people complained. They decided John had a demon and Jesus was a glutton.
We should not be concerned when we are ridiculed for being on mission. If our goals are to do the will of the Father and to see the Kingdom of God expanded, then be prepared, someone is going to complain.
That’s okay, we’re in good company.