Numbers 26:52‐28:15; Luke 3:1‐22; Psalm 61:1‐8; Proverbs 11:16‐17
Ain’t No Rock Gonna Cry in My Place
In the Gospel of Luke, we see John the Baptist challenging the people who approach him for baptism. John, whose primary responsibility was to preach repentance and the coming of the Messiah, pulls no punches as he calls those coming to him a “brood of vipers.” In those days many believed the rite of baptism would allow escape from the coming wrath, a type of fire insurance if you will. It seems that many today believe the same thing, “If I’m baptized, then I’m good.” A pastor friend of mine often says, “If just baptism and the water saves us then we could make a deal with the fire department to bring their truck, bless the water, spray the whole city and be done.” That however is not the point. Baptism is an outward sign of what takes place in our hearts as we repent and seek the Lord.
John is so adamant that he tells the people that if they will not cry out and worship the Lord, then surely the rocks will do it for them. In Luke chapter 19, Jesus says very similar words when He says that even if His disciples stop crying out in worship, the stones would do it in their place. This can be taken a couple of ways.
We could, of course, say that that makes us pretty insignificant if rocks or stones can merely take our place in our failure to do what we have been called to do. This way of thinking is not the intention of John or Jesus. This extreme illustration makes the point that worship of the Lord will not be thwarted by man. This leads to a second way of understanding this verse: I am created in the image of God to worship Him, and it would be a travesty to allow mere rocks to do that which I have been created to do.
Today’s challenge from John and Jesus is that we will realize our lack of worship and be led to say the words of an 80’s praise song, “Ain’t no rock gonna cry in my place; as long as I’m alive I’ll glorify His Holy Name!” May that be the outcry of our hearts today! (For those who wish to correct the slang grammar in your heart’s cry…feel free to do so.)
The Rev. Wes Sharp
Holy Cross Episcopal Church