“ Here and there, in clefts and basins, and on the hillsides, grade on grade, you observe a patch of corn, a clump of olives, a single palm.” “Even in the wilderness nature is not so stern as man.”
Taken from Hepworth Dixon (“The Holy Land”)
Metanoea, Metanoea Metanoea! (Repent, Repent, Repent!) The kingdom of heaven is at hand!
- John the Baptist/Herald proclaimed in the wilderness — Repent!
- “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”
- Camel’s hair, and a leather girdle about his loins he wore.
- Locusts and wild honey was his meat.
- “Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” Matthew 3:5-6
- Repent?— “a virtuous alteration of the mind and purpose as begets a like virtuous change in the life and practice.”
- Sorrow is not, as is popularly conceived, the primary notion of “repent.” Vincent’s Word Studies
- John’s continuing message, “put out of the way whatever would obstruct The Lord’s progress and hinder His complete triumph, whether those hindrances were public or personal, outward or inward.” J.F.B. (paraphrase).
“In those days of Christ’s secluded life at Nazareth, came John the Baptist, preaching — about six months before his Master.”
John preceded the Savior’s public ministry by half a year. John was the son of Zacharias, and he baptized in water; but he said, “one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.” Matthew 3:13-15 Heaven opened above Jesus, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”
These are strange days depicting a strange ministry of a strange man. Would you agree?
So, some more about John:
- “John was a fiery prophet proclaiming the apocalyptic message of God.
- Indeed, Luke says that John came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” ( Luke1:17 )
- “John fully accepted his subordinate role to Christ… he was simply a witness to the Light.” ( John 1:19-23
- “…John joined in the popular speculations about the identity of Christ. It may be that John’s vision of the Messiah varied so much from what he heard and saw in Jesus, that he came to question if Jesus were really the Christ ( Matt 11:1-2 )
What can we learn about and from John’s ministry that applies to us?
- He preached the imminence of God’s judgment.(not just the coming of Messiah.)
- He warned the religious leaders, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Luke 3:7
- He gave instructions — To the people –“He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. To the publicans — Exact no more than that which is appointed you. To the soldiers — Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”
John was imprisoned; he sent two of his disciples to Jesus, ” Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
Jesus answered and said unto them, — “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
John was beheaded, his work was over.
Jesus proclaimed, “there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
Friends, John the Baptist was a herald for a greater one. Moses led the children of Israel to the promised land — but he never went in. Hanna cried to God for a son — then she gave him back to God.
Never underestimate the effect of your godly life — others are benefiting by it. love ya