You probably know the rest of the story. Not only was John the Baptist arrested, he was also gruesomely beheaded. Moreover, his martyrdom was the direct result of clearing the road for the Good News. John proclaimed a hard-edged message that left no room for a half-hearted response. Listen to Mark's succinct description of the wilderness prophet's message: [John] preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.
As an aside, let me try to get to my point this way. The name of my blog is Enjoying the Adventure. I sign nearly all personal correspondence, Enjoying the Adventure. Now let me say this, not every step of the adventure has been enjoyable in the moment. In the words of the old Negro spiritual, Nobody knows de troubles I've seen. Let me put it right out there and confess--I have brought some troubles upon myself, due to my own choices. But there have also been many, many times when the adventure was painful, because I did the absolute right thing.
That being said, let's get back to the brief narrative of Scripture at the top of this post.
Look how it quickly it transitions from John being arrested, and beheaded--we would consider that bad news. To Jesus joyfully heralding the Good News. At this point it would be good to remember that the Good News message Jesus preached got him killed, too.
"What are you driving at?" you might be asking.
Here it is: In the Adventure we live, as Believers, not every step we take is enjoyed in the moment. Did you know that shortly before his demise, John the Baptist, the wild man from the desert, looked at the predicament his preaching had got him into, and sent a messenger to ask Jesus, "Are you the One, or should I keep looking for the promised Messiah? In John's mind the story wasn't supposed to go the way it was. And also, do you remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, "Is there anyway this cup of suffering can be avoided?"
What I am saying is, in the hardships of our journey we need to quickly transition our thinking to the end-game. And what is that? The most important matter at hand is the advance of the Kingdom, and we can Enjoy that Adventure...