John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, “We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.” That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
I know most times we read what John the Baptist wore and think he must have been bonkers. Even for his time his attire was bizarre. We know he was a great man and lead many to confess their sins and be baptized in the name of the Messiah, but why did he choose to dress in this manner? John’s sole purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. He had one mission, to tell others the Messiah was coming. He was markedly different from many religious leaders of his day. That was his point. He needed to be different from all the other religious leaders. He was disgusted with the Pharisees and Sadducees as he clearly stated in verse7 and 8, “You brood of snakes! Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” They preached one thing and lived another. I am quite certain John wanted to be completely different from them. His life was a reflection that he lived what he preached. John cared nothing about the status of these Pharisees and Sadducees. He called them out for their behavior. He told them to prove by how they lived that they had repented of their sins not just with meaningless words. He cared only about his mission for Jesus. If it got people’s attention because of how he dressed then so be it. His message was a new message and he wanted, no, he needed people to hear it.
Sometimes we get caught up in being normal. We don’t want to stand out in a crowd. God calls us to be different and to stand out for Him. While I probably won’t be wearing a woven camel hair dress and eating locusts and honey anytime soon, I do hope that my life for Jesus looks markedly different from those who don’t yet know Him. I don’t want to be different to boast of my own good works, but to show Christ in me. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us it isn’t our good work that leads to salvation, but by God’s grace alone so that we can’t boast about it. I don’t want to be like the Pharisees and Sadducees and that tree that doesn’t produce good fruit. We will never get this life down to perfection, but if we live our lives for Christ we will stand out. Some may not understand our faith or the fact that we live for Christ, not the world, but it shouldn’t stop us from doing it anyway. Be the light. Stand out for Jesus. After all, He died for us. The least we can do is stand out for Him.
Dear Gracious and Loving Father, give us the courage to stand out and be different in Your name. Help us to live in such a way that those who don’t yet know You will see You in us. In Your Name we Pray, Amen