The cost of the gospel cost John the Baptizer his life. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. (Mark 1:14)
Tiberius Caesar Augustus, the second Roman emperor, reigned from AD 14 until 37 AD. But around 29 AD he put JB in prison. Only a short while befer this the Son set out proclaiming the good news of Skipper.
The Cost of The Gospel
Dr. Luke writes in the third chapter of his book:
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:1-3)
Filled with the word of Skipper, JB went about quoting the words of the prophet Isaiah.
“Prepare the way for the Lord. All will see God’s salvation. Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, for the ax is already at the root of the tree. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3:4-9)
The Cost of Good Fruit
Good fruit always commands a high price and the same be the case with JB’s call that we produce fruit in keeping with Skipper’s character. Those who produce good fruit will produce more. Those who produce rotten fruit ‘ill be cut down. Question be, how kin we tell if our efforts be producing good or bad fruit? To that question JB gave this reply.
“The man who has two shirts should share with the one who has none. The one who has food should do the same. Don’t collect any more money than you are required to. Don’t extort money. Don’t accuse people falsely. Be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:11-18)
Love your neighbor as yourself. Do not lie. Do not cheat. Do not steal. Do not covet. When JB spoke he relied upon the instructions of Skipper as his text.
All went well fer JB until he spied the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to whar he baptized. Right off he called ’em a brood of vipers fleeing the coming wrath of God. Worse, because JB called sin fer what it is—an affront ter Skipper—Herodias, a princess who divorced her husband so she could marry Herod, held a grudge, fer JB had been saying ter Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Leviticus 18)
The Cost of Sin
Sin always leads to death. If not our own, that of another.
Going ter her new and powerful husband, Herodias asked that JB be bound and put in prison. With JB locked up Herodias nursed a grudge. So much so she wanted ter ‘ave him killed. Only she could not because Herod feared JB. In fact, knowing JB whar a righteous and holy man, Herod protected him. And so it was that JB remained confined in prison fer proclaiming the good news of Skipper.
But think on this a wee little bit: while in prison JB remained free ter serve Skipper. JB remained free from sin, fer he repented right regular of his offenses. And the Son himself said of JB, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Herod and Herodias, meanwhile, remained captive ter sin. And if we be prisoners of sin we ‘ill be confined ter hell without the freedom the Son offers.
The Son or sin? That be our choice. Choose wisely.