Image of John the Baptist By Shakko (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
A man was driving a winding mountainous road home late one night. He swerved on one hazardous turn and the car crashed through the guard rail and went sailing off into the night over the cliff. The man was thrown from the car and he managed to grab onto a small branch growing out of the mountainside. When he caught his breath and realized he wasn’t dead he began to check out the surroundings.
Holding tight to the branch he looked down at a straight drop of 300 feet; he looked up at a 20-foot climb with nothing to hold onto. There he dangled between heaven and the hard earth.
The man figured he was done-for, so he began crying out to God: “Hello, God. Are you up there somewhere? If you can hear me, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. If you’ll get me out of this mess I’ll be good. I’ll go to church and serve on committees; man, I’ll even tithe!” Suddenly a voice from above said,
“I hear you, my son – and I will help you…let go of the branch”.
“Uh, Lord, it’s a 300-foot drop.”
“I know – trust me and I’ll help you…let go of the branch.”
A 10-second pause followed, and the frightened man asked:
“Is there anyone else up there?”
Have you ever wondered at some point in your life if you’re doing the right thing, making the right choices?
How do you know if you’re doing right or choosing well when it comes to that job or a major decision that affects your family? How do people make the right choices when the doctor says there’s no hope?
We wonder, don’t we?
John the Baptist wondered too. He had just gotten done preaching how Messiah would come in power and judgment, harvest-sickle flashing and slashing. Now Jesus has come; John has declared Him the Son of God and, instead of cleaning house Jesus is preaching love your enemies and how we should turn the other cheek. John had doubts!
Perhaps John’s question was designed to help Jesus get back on track, or even force his hand. John may have imagined that a little shove in the right political direction was all his cousin may have needed to pick up God’s ball and carry it.
John asked, are you really the one…or is there anyone else up there?
He wanted to know if staking his life and eternity on Jesus was right, or was he hollering down a dry well?
What drove John’s question was the same thing that drives ours – fear. Trusting someone else is hard enough when it’s something small, like repairing your car or fixing the garbage disposal. But having confidence in the decision of all decisions – what do I do with my soul? Now that makes us fearful…or it should.
So, it comes down to this about your soul: you can ask “is there anyone else up there” – or you can decide to trust what Jesus has done for you and trust your eternity to Him.
It’s a leap of faith, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s a leap into the unknown, because it comes down to either believing and being saved, or back-pedaling away from faith, and being lost forever! Salvation through faith is available to anyone who asks, but in the end each person must decide for his or her own soul.
John’s question was asked so he could get off the roller coaster of doubt. His was the kind of question a man asks when he doubts; but it is a kind of holy question that wants to haul that doubt onto the examination table to deal openly with what causes him to doubt.
Jesus gave John an answer that spoke to John’s faith, and we’ll talk about that answer tomorrow.
If you’re tired of dangling – hanging between heaven and the hard earth, go ahead and ask the question – is there anyone else up there?
God has big shoulders; and he loves to hear your voice.