Summary: Why did God use John the Baptist rather than the "good and the great" to announce the birth of his Son

NR 10-12-06

Luke 3:1-20 John the Baptist

Conventional wisdom says that how you present the message is more important than the message itself

And Alistair Campbell Tony Blair’s spin doctor incorporated that in the ultimate

Why else do we see smartly dressed men and attractively clothed women advertising products like soap and cars

But when God announced the birth of his son Jesus, he defied conventional wisdom.

He did not use the “Great and the Good” to proclaim the birth of his Son.

Why - because they were the very folk who needed to repent. Herod, the High Priest; they weren’t in tune with God.

Rather he used John the Baptist – John who was the complete ANTITHESIS of our marketing world today .

John wasn’t into spin – rather his priority was first God, second God and ultimately God – and His message to us. He didn’t care what men thought about him .

Have you ever stopped to think what would happen if the Bishop appointed John the Baptist as Vicar in New Romney.

Imagine yourself asking John the Baptist round for dinner.

What would you have expected?

1. His clothes.

He wouldn’t have turned up in an Armani suit and a Pierre Chardin shirt with a Rolex watch.

What you would have got was a rugged man with a slightly dishevelled look.

And if we were honest, he’d probably look more like a gypsy than what you’d expect of the new vicar.

2. His diet

And if you asked him if he had any dietary

requirement and he would tell you that he’s

vegetarian. And he would then probably add:

“Well actually I only eat is locusts and honey.”

That would be enough to drive any hostess up the wall. I ask you, where can you get locusts at this time of the year?

3. His conversation

I wonder what his topic of conversation would be with you over the dinner table.

John the Baptist had few social graces.

When the Pharisees and Sadducees came out to look at his work, did he welcome them as honourable persons of the religious establishment?

Did he smile and exchange pleasantries over


Would he have tried to engage them in polite conversation about their work?

Would he have asked them for their own perspective on the Messiah?

Would he have gone to the World Council of Churches to further interfaith dialogue?


But what he did do - was to call them a bunch of poisonous snakes that were soon to be consumed by the flames of hell?

Obviously he hadn’t read Dale Carnegie’s book “How to make friends and influence people”

4. His first sermon at Christmas

Could you imagine what his first Christmas Eve sermon –in New Romney - with a full church would have been like?

What would his message have been?

Would he have told us simply to go on “being loving to one another?”

Or would he have preached a message of repentance - with fire and enthusiasm.

5. John the Baptist was not a conformer

The world, in which we live - demands conformity.

It demands that we live and think and act just like everybody else.

Those - who have the courage to resist conforming - may face great opposition in their lives. They may well be ostracised.

Henry David Thoreau, the great American poet once said:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music that he hears, however measured and far away”.

The question I’d like to leave you with this morning is this.

“Do you hear the beat of that different drummer?”

For if you do, it may well be the voice of God inside of us, calling us to repentance and a life following Christ.

For we are called - as St. Paul said - not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God.

As we consider the call of John and look forward at Christmas to the birth of Christ, let us look at the content of God’s message to us

God knew exactly what he was doing when he sent Jesus to this earth.

The Cross wasn’t a “horrible misjudgement”

Rather the reason Jesus came into this world was to bring us back into a relationship with God. The motivation was as John Stott puts it in his book The Cross – the HOLY LOVE OF GOD.

God himself judges us for our sin and finds us guilty. God,in Jesus steps down from the judgement throne and pays the penalty on our behalf.

But there is a cost to us too.

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