The Humble Preacher
At Southern Bible Institute and College, Professor Avner Even-Zohar shared with our entire student body about the role that the Bible plays in modern Israeli culture. Then in four of my Old Testament classes, he lectured on the Psalms, even singing Psalm 92:12-15 in Hebrew.
Avner was born in Israel, served for eight years in the Israeli military, rising to the rank of captain, and then after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies, he went on to teach Hebrew at the Military Academy in Monterey. In his spare time, he did graduate studies on leadership and writes children’s books telling stories that build emotional intelligence and happiness.
As a world-class educator, Avner could strut his credentials, but instead, he began each session like this, “It’s an honor for me to be with you. I want each of you to look back on this time together and remember something that built up your life.” His humility won his audience right from the beginning.
John the Baptist had stellar credentials as a prophet. Thousands were coming down to the Jordan River to be baptized by him, but instead of strutting his credentials, he pointed away from himself to someone far greater.
“And John preached, saying, ‘After me, the one stronger than me is coming. In fact, I’m not even worthy of untying the strap on his sandals. I baptize you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:7-8
Talk about receiving a gift that can build you up. John doesn’t allow the crowd to focus on him for a second. It’s all about the one who is coming who will immerse us in the Holy Spirit. Mark is only beginning the Good News about Jesus, but he already has us hooked. Who is this one who will be able to give the Holy Spirit to us? Who is the one who is far greater than John the Baptist?
LORD, I confess that often when I speak to an audience I’m concerned about whether or not they like me. Help me to have Abner’s humility, and help me to be like John, pointing people away from myself to Jesus, the one who is strong enough to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
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