1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near! ” 3 For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! 4 Now John had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. 9 And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. — Matthew 3:1-13
The Daily Herald
by Matthew Mezzatesta
Avenue South Campus
Whether inside and outside the church, almost everyone is familiar with “The Hallelujah Chorus.” This chorus is part of a larger work called the “Messiah,” written by German composer George F. Handel. The two-and-a-half-hour oratorio tells the life of Christ all the way through His triumphant coming reign. One of the greatest works of music ever composed, it is the gospel put into music.
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, telling people that the coming of God’s kingdom was near. For that reason, he was calling people to repentance. Although John was a common man and not part of the ruling or religious elite, God used him in a powerful way. People were repenting of their sins and being baptized.
The religious leaders, however, looked at John with great contempt. But John was clear to communicate to them that he was not the Messiah. Jesus was so much greater that John was not even worthy to carry His sandals. Jesus would come to give people deliverance from the bondage of sin.
John tells us that God will hold us accountable if we do not accept His gift of salvation through Jesus. If we do not have Jesus as Lord of our lives, we will not be spared the wrath of God. However, because Jesus does not wish that for us, He came to deliver us and give us a second chance.
Through the example of John the Baptist, we see how God is able to use everyone, no matter our background and talents, to tell others about the love He has for the world.
- What are some ways we can engage others with the truth of the gospel?
- Are we praying for others to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.