When we find John the Baptist imprisoned, we may be tempted to settle on his doubt. But doubt isn’t his problem. He’s already convinced he was wrong.
faith and the destructive nature of cynicism
by the Rev. Drew Downs
This gospel reading needs an intro: previously…
‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” ’
[Camera pans down to show John’s crazy clothes. Then cuts to show the Pharisees and Sadducees.]
“You brood of vipers!”
“‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’”
Then the screen goes black.
Fade in on a prison cell. The wild-eyed prophet from last week is now pacing. He appears in different positions in different parts of the cell to show the passing time.
Words fade onto the bottom of the screen:
A few months later…
The prisoner is in the corner of his cell, arms tucking around his knees. He’s quiet, despondent, hopeless. Notes, obviously passed to him by guards and visitors, litter the floor. Clearly people are keeping him posted on what Jesus is up to.
A visitor comes, bringing word of yet another healing—perhaps the gentile, the centurion’s servant. Or the leper or demoniac. The paralytic or the girl and the woman. Two blind men and one who is mute. Maybe all of them.
Which was the last straw for him? The one which broke him? Which broke his belief?
The full text may be found here.
For a limited time, the audio may be found here.