John the Baptist was offensive. I’m not referring to his diet or wardrobe, but to his preaching. He was not afraid to confront influential people about their sin, and he paid the price for it. He was a great man who died an inglorious death. Harod arrested him because he condemned the relationship with Herodias. He was subsequently imprisoned, and eventually had his head cut off to satisfy a foolish promise he made in the presence of drunken perverts, to an iniquitous teenager who was the daughter of his illegitimate wife. Part of us wishes the story ended differently, like with a miraculous jail break a la Peter, Paul, and Silas. But that didn’t happen. John just went to jail and got killed. Even those who were released eventually were recaptured and killed. What does all that say about our view of protection? Why are we always praying for safety and thorn-free flesh? That was not part of the agreement. Did we forget the part about taking up our cross? These are the good old days. Things will get worse before they get better. The longer we live, the more John the Baptist will begin to make sense.