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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

John the Baptist and David (Holy Warriors Part 3)

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist

Today’s readings:

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 139:1-15

Acts 13:22-26

Luke 1:57-80

John the Baptist was one great holy warrior, who prepared the way for Jesus.

To be holy is to be set apart. John was set apart from his birth to serve the Lord. “Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: ‘.... And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways” (Lk 1:67,76). Then John literally and physically set himself apart from the world, as “he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.” (Lk 1:80b). In the desert he prayed and fasted and prepared himself as a holy warrior.

In calling John to prepare the way for Jesus, what did God intend? Well, Jesus “visited and brought redemption to his people” (Lk 1:68). Jesus brought “salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us” (Lk 1:71). Israel he “rescued from the hand of enemies” (Lk 1:74a). This was engagement in spiritual warfare, to enter a world of darkness and sin, engage the enemy, and bring God’s light and peace. Jesus’ saving act was “to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Lk 1:79).

John prepared the way for Jesus, as he was tasked “to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Lk 1:77). John proclaimed the salvation of God, to be brought about through repentance and forgiveness of sin. “John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel” (Acts 13:24). This is the work of evangelization. This is assaulting the kingdom of darkness.

God had been working throughout salvation history to raise holy warriors. One such holy warrior used by God was David. Holy? But was not David an adulterer and murderer? Yes, but he repented. Just goes to show: God can use any and all of us, who are all sinners.

Why did David find such favor with God? God Himself testified, “I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.” (Acts 13:22b). David was a warrior. And he became God’s holy warrior. He was set apart, to be totally obedient to and at the disposal of God. He was the kind of willing instrument that was perfect for God’s purposes.

As such, God used David in a most profound and mysterious way, as “from this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.” (Acts 13:23). Might not God also use us as powerfully? As holy warriors, we are privileged to bring to the world the savior, Jesus.

What makes for a holy warrior who will experience the victory of God?

First, he knows what is his duty, which is to serve God as God’s warrior, fighting God’s battles. He knows he cannot overcome the enemy on his own. He looks only to God, rejoicing in the great privilege of serving in God’s army. “I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength!” (Is 49:5c). He goes forth in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Second, he allows God to form him for battle and he trusts in God’s protection. “He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword, concealed me, shielded by his hand. He made me a sharpened arrow, in his quiver he hid me.” (Is 49:2). Whom God calls, God equips and takes care of. The holy warrior is supremely confident of God’s abiding presence. “Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.” (Ps 139:5).

Third, he works with endurance and perseverance, not deterred by obstacles, not counting the cost, not discouraged by seeming defeats, always plodding on. “Though I thought I had toiled in vain, for nothing and for naught spent my strength, yet my right is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God.” (Is 49:4). He just seeks to serve God, no matter the outcome of the battles. His consolation is not in victory (well, that too), but in the glory of God.

Fourth, he is humble in the face of great things God accomplishes through him/her. Thus, “as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’” (Acts 13:25). Some warriors become arrogant in victory and power. Some even think they are the messiah. The holy warrior knows that he is nothing apart from God. And in being used by God, he is humble and not proud.

What is the call of a holy warrior? “My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent.” (Acts 13:26). They fear God, and they go forth proclaiming the salvation of God.

What a call! Holy warriors, God says, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6b). Onward!

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