Unexpected Benefit of Burden
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God.”
Today, as I sat to read in the Gospel of Mark, the first sentence I read, struck me deeply. To set the background, the previous section of this chapter regards John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. Then, Jesus had gone to the desert for forty days where He was tempted. It can be supposed that John continued to baptize others and was making the way for Jesus until he was taken to prison. What struck me about this sentence in the passage was that Jesus, being God and full of authority and power, did not rescue his own cousin from prison! Think about that for a moment. He did not spare his own family on earth from suffering. Yet, how often do we feel betrayed or even forgotten when our prayers of rescue are not answered?
Well, let’s take a deeper look into this scripture passage. Could our imprisonments be the direct result of the greater plan? Think about the biblical setting; John the Baptist, while in prison, had a captive audience. It is not revealed how long John was in prison, but it can be assumed this time was not wasted. Maybe, there were other prisoners that John had the opportunity to speak to about Jesus. Maybe, some turned from their sin and were saved. What about the guards who must have heard John? Were any of them saved? After all, he was a bit of an odd character - he dressed in camel haired clothing and he ate wild locusts. If anything, that must have intrigued them enough to listen. Hopefully, they too were changed by his proclaiming of Jesus. Maybe some were even baptized. How is YOUR imprisonment changing the lives of others?
Are you currently or have you ever been in a prison? For some, this could mean the reality of being arrested and being placed in jail or to others it could be merely symbolic, representing a particular set of circumstances. One symbolic prison could be a mess you are in which you have begged God to get you out of. Another prison might be how you feel at your place of employment or on a committee with which you serve. Still yet, it may be within your own family. Like John the Baptist and countless others, are you being used to bring about the will of God? Do you have a captive audience with which to speak? Or, is your witness of Jesus how you respond in circumstances? How are you using this time? Is it being wasted or is it fruitful? Is there someone or many in your day to day interactions that will benefit from your testimony of faith in Jesus Christ?
These questions and maybe more are worth contemplating. Instead of begging to be rescued from your circumstances, instead, ask God how this time can be used for His greater glory.
Praise be to God! For, in him, all things work for the greater good!