Things We Thought We Knew [guest]

Guest post by Naomi Boyer

But first, the prelude…

For the past two years I’ve been doing a music podcast at the turn of each season. It’s called Currently Prophetic Radio. People send in music that has been speaking to them recently along with some commentary on what they hear and feel in the song. It’s usually a lot of fun (though a lot of work) and makes for a great playlist of music that I normally wouldn’t listen to.

There was this one song on the latest podcast by Paper Route called Are We All Forgotten. The more I listened to it, the more I kept hearing a New Testament Psalm written by John the Baptist. Music can be very subject and I doubt this is what the band/writer had in mind. Still, I hear a deep story of recollection and vulnerability, questioning things he thought he knew, holding onto whatever truth he can.

My wife, Naomi, and I spoke about these things and below she shares some of her own thoughts and reflections on the song.

* * *

Don’t you break my heart… again

It hardly seems like the same man who saw Jesus and yelled, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” such a long time ago.

Years ago I met my lover
On the banks of the stormy Jordan

It was then that he spoke with such confidence, “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” This could only mean one thing: Messiah. This was the Christ, and he knew it. Ol’ Johnny boy had cracked the code and was blasting the secret as loud as he possibly could. Let’s get this revolution started, people, our Messiah is here! The King of Jews had arrived, marking the beginning of a new reign of justice and peace; Israel was about to be reborn as she ought to be; salvation for God’s people was at hand. The excitement in the air was tangible. Here was the One that had been promised, the One he had searched the Scriptures for, the One that he had dedicated his life to finding.

Years ago I met my lover
How I wish that we could meet again

Fast forward a few short years. Life looks different inside a musty old cell. There is plenty of time to think, perhaps to wish, certainly to wonder. Things were not as they were supposed to be. Where was our revolution? Instead of celebrating with the King of the Jews, John was being held prisoner under a very different but all-too-familiar king’s palace. Why had this happened? What was he waiting for?

Have I lost my faith in you?
Are we all forgotten too?

Things had gone so terribly awry from what he thought, maybe John had gotten it wrong from the beginning? “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Don’t you break my heart… again

You can almost hear the pleading in his voice. Tell me I’m not sitting in prison for nothing. Tell me you’re the Christ. Tell me that I’m not going to rot in here for the rest of my life. Tell me I won’t die. Save us. Save me.

Jesus’ response seems less than ideal. “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” He then goes on to praise John the Baptist to the crowd, saying that there has been no one greater than him and calling him “the Elijah who was to come”, finishing it off with his classic, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Here he was, a man on death row, hearing a “what do you think?” kind of answer from Jesus. And who knows, maybe it was enough for John to know and to rest in peace. What is clear is that Jesus could have easily explained the whole situation to him. He could have even just said, “You got it right, John, you did well.” Except that’s not usually how it works. Not then, not now, not ever. It seems that God seldom gives anyone a whole picture, but instead he gives little pieces of truth (you are the Lamb of God), something to hold onto, and a love that can endure any pain that life throws at us.

John never did get out of that prison; his body fell there while his head was delivered on a platter to king Herod’s niece. Jesus grieved. In all probability, John ended his life still wondering about his experiences since naming Jesus the Christ. And yet…

I still believe that change can happen
Though it’s hard and it happens slowly
I still believe forgiveness comes with love
And God when it washes over me

Believe.

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