I feel like every time I get on the freeway I have joined “the game.”
Object: get to destination in one piece in good time.
Rules: don’t die or break the law or another car.
Winner: but does anyone win? I wondered tonight. Well, what if you play by different rules?
Odd rules: be courteous, stand your ground, use cruise control.
I found that leaving a nice following distance helps me to breathe better too. And while I think someone is rushing up to pass me on the right, they might not actually make it past that slow semi. Finally, cop cars are great for cruise control: set it at the speed limit and you can surge past all the other cars in the police officer’s wake.
But I have avoided using cruise control (tonight was my third time ever). I feel like I begin to zone out and not pay as close attention. Or maybe I just forget the rules.
John the Baptist seems to have been on cruise control in Matthew 3. The Old Testament is full of warnings about how God will judge the earth and bring complete justice and right-living when His Kingdom comes. So when John predicted that the Kingdom of Heaven was coming, that’s what he expected.
Then Jesus comes, and wants to be baptized – but that is only for sinners! Well, it will fulfill all righteousness. Jesus identified with sinners, but God spoke from heaven to show that Jesus was acceptable to Him. That sounds like a picture of how Christ later took on the sins of all sinners at the public place of death and rose as promised the third day, affirmed by God as having pleased Him.
I don’t think John saw that coming. He was on cruise-control. Jesus + Kingdom = restoration of Israel…? John asked from prison in Matthew 11 if You, Jesus, cousin, are the promised Savior, or are we back to waiting?
Jesus replied to the messengers:
“‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.'”
That sounds like God coming to earth, and like prophesy fulfilled. John learned that sometimes cruise control does not always work at the speed we want to maintain. I set mine a little slower tonight and stopped at the same red light at the on-ramp as the van I could not catch for a dozen miles. No matter where you play the game, you can always choose to add God’s rules to the mix – it feels like winning even if you do not make the fastest time.
God, thank You for helping me see different rules for the game tonight, and for keeping me safe. There are times where I have seen how close catastrophe comes on a regular basis without my noticing. Please help me to seek Your heart for people, go slower as needed, and never give up looking for Jesus to come. Thank You that His Kingdom is coming on earth, and until then, please help me to keep a steady pace in towards it. To Your glory, Amen.