There are many “role models” for us in the Bible. In the past I’ve led a men’s study on the life of King David. The book of Acts tells us that David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). That is the goal of this True Men Ministries’ men’s study – to find ways that we can become “men after God’s own heart” through the examples in the life of David. Of course, sometimes those examples will be of the nature of “what not to do” – especially his parenting style with Absolom and his infidelity with Bathsheba. I led this Bible study on the life of David because he is very much an “every man.” Most men can see a little of themselves in David.
I’ve also been exploring Peter as a role model for men. Considered a giant in the Church – with over 1 billion Christian considering him as the founder of the Christian Church (as the first pope). One of the things that intrigued me about the Roman Catholic’s view of St. Peter is that they promote him as the first pope and such, but seem to conveniently overlook that Peter had a “foot-shaped mouth.” Peter is a great role model for men today because he had many of the “down to earth” qualities that many men have today. But Peter also was used greatly and powerfully by Christ in this world.
Yet another man who could serve as a role model for us today is John the Baptist.
John the Baptist is a difficult character to present to men as a role model. The reason is because there is very little we know of him that men can really relate well to. Sure, we know from Matthew 3 that his birth was foretold by an angel – but how many men today can claim that? He was born to parents that were quite old – some men may be able to relate to that. We know that he was a relative of a very famous person – and I suppose that some men could sympathize with that situation. But after that, all we know of John the Baptist was that he was supremely faithful to his calling from God to prepare the way for the Messiah. While that is an excellent goal for men today to strive for, it is also very intimidating – leading me and, I’m sure, other men to say, “I could never get to that point in my faith life.”
Yet, I believe John the Baptist could be an excellent role model. This is from an article in the September/October issue of New Man Magazine (and can be found here: http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/5329-an-obedient-man ), written by Roger C. Palms:
John the Baptist came preaching in the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah (see Mal. 4:5; Matt. 11:14). He wore hair-skin clothing and ate locusts and honey (see Matt. 3:4). He was a man on a mission sent to prepare the way for Jesus. A lone voice, John cried out not in the big cities but in the desert. He didn't do it for headlines; he did it to make a people ready to meet Jesus so that "all people will see the salvation sent from God" (Luke 3:6, NLT).
John's mission was from God, who gave him the message. John knew who he was and who he wasn't. He said: "'I am not the Messiah'" (John 1:20) and "'Someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am'" (Matt. 3:11). John was not a self-promoter.
How many men confuse the message and calling of God with their own sense of importance? If our birth was announced by the angel Gabriel, would we still say, "'He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less'" (John 3:30)? Or would we go around boasting about who we are? John could have done that. Instead, he was obedient. He stepped aside for Jesus and God gave him the opportunity to baptize and announce the Messiah (see Matt. 3:13-16).
John was born of parents who were faithful to God: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God" (Luke 1:6). But both were also old. John was God's miracle baby for them. In spite of that beginning and the joy he brought to his aged parents, he was never his own. He was a man called by God and he yielded to that call. During his life, John never had the things most men want: a family, house, prestigious job and easy death in his old age.
John's death came at the whim of a powerful woman and a weak husband who did what she asked. John was beheaded during a rich man's birthday banquet and his head was brought to the revelers on a platter (see Matt.14:6-12). What did John do to get himself murdered? He told the truth to the king (see Mark 6:17-29).
"Unfair!" we cry out when a person is treated brutally, as John was. Why was he able to do that? How simple it would have been to keep his mouth shut about the king's morals. There is a way to live an easy, comfortable life—don't obey God. But John did obey God. He was faithful and for that faithfulness he was killed. John didn't invite suffering, but he accepted it.
Are you open to the leading of God even if it means that you must become less just as John did? Will it matter to you if your obedience takes you to the desert rather than to a palace? Will you always point people to the Savior? Jesus had something powerful to say about John: "None is greater than John the Baptist'" (Matt. 11:11). What an epitaph for an obedient man. What a selfless man of God. What an example for today's man.
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