- To fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, John the Baptist starts preaching in the Desert of Judea, calling people to repent because the Kingdom of heaven is drawing near.
- John was not the average man as his attire choice consisted of clothes made of camel hair with a belt and his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey.
- People came to John to confess their sins and be baptized. People from the major (and nearby) city of Jerusalem, people from all over Judea, and people from the whole region of the Jordan (foreigners).
- When some of the religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) show up, John warns them that if they are truly repentant of their sin then fruit will be evident of their change. It is not their lineage through Abraham that saves them, for God can raise up new children for Abraham, but the kind of fruit that they produce.
- John then explains that his own baptism is a simple one of water for repentance, but someone else is coming who is more powerful. This person will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He will separate the good from the bad (the wheat from the chaff) and burn away the chaff.
- Jesus comes to the Jordan from Galilee to be baptized, but John refuses, saying that Jesus needs to baptize him. But Jesus explains that it is proper for them to do this, as it will play a role in fulfilling all righteousness.
- As Jesus is finished being baptized and emerges from the water, heaven is opened, the spirit of God descends on Him like a dove, and a voice comes from heaven saying that Jesus is His Son, whom He loves and is well pleased with.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find an application in short narrative passages. I want to focus on the attitude and faithfulness of John. John was given a task, prepare the way of the Lord. I would assume that he was given directions to baptize in the Jordan River, and to live in the desert. (Luke 1:80) I personally would be much more comfortable in a nearby town, in a bed, with a diet of bread, fish, and other common foods. John, however, lives a life of simplicity as he follows God’s plan for his life. He lives in one place, the desert, and he eats what can be easily found there. Sometimes when I try to discern where God is leading me, there is discontent because I will be uncomfortable. John’s parents were probably uncomfortable with the thought of their son foregoing priestly duties (as would be proper for the son of a priest) in order to go live in the desert! But he was obedient. I should be obedient to whatever God is calling me to do with the same attitude of John the Baptist.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for the example of your servant, John the Baptist. I pray that I would be obedient to your calling, even when it is uncomfortable and sounds like going to “the desert”. May I serve you, live out my purpose, and bring you glory wherever that may be with the humble obedience that can only be possible with your Spirit inside me. Amen.
Posted on Fri, August 21, 2015
by Brian Landers