Summary: When was the last time you stood at the waters edge with John the Baptist? Did his message resonate with you? Is your life right with God? Are you ready to meet the Messiah?
Jesus and John the Baptist
This week we look to Jesus and John the Baptist. We know from scripture that John was a relative of Jesus through Jesus mother Mary. Luke 1:36
We know that John the Baptist parents Zechariah and Elizabeth were both well along in years and that Elizabeth had been barren until God gave her John by a miracle. Luke 1:11-17
We learn that this special baby John will have a divine mission. To make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17
We also learn that John the Baptist will go on in the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah. Luke 1:17
The bible gives us a panoramic view of the life and times of Jesus in great detail all we have to do is look for the details.
We know that John the Baptist was born about 6 months before Jesus was born to Mary. Luke tells us that Mary went to visit Elizabeth when Elizabeth was in her sixth month. Luke 1:39
So the story of Jesus involves not just one couple but two and in fact it involves a family line that can trace their ancestry back to King David and even back to Abraham who was the father of the Jewish faith. Matthew 1:2-16
Both Mary and Elizabeth were to be main characters in bringing the good news to the people of Israel. Their sons were to be special messengers of God who would both give their lives to fulfill Gods will.
Have you ever experienced the awe of going to a really big city for the first time? In a way it is like entering a wilderness where nothing seems familiar. I can remember going to Toronto in 1989 to take a two week course for my police career.
All around me were mountains of buildings whose shadows engulfed me as I walked between them. I saw many strange people of every tribe and nation. It was as if people from all over the world were there and in fact they were. I also saw people begging for the first time in my life. Some begged for food others for money.
I also saw a few people who were proclaiming religious messages. Some were dressed like businessmen and women and then others were in filthy clothes and had unkempt beards and wild eyes. These wild eyed people held placards that read a simple message that they proclaimed with shrill voices Repent for the End is Near.
This experience rattled me from my calm, cool collected demeanor and made me feel uneasy and unsettled. I quickly composed myself and realized that this is just a normal day on Yonge Street in Toronto and that I should just keep walking. Have you walked on past a similar warning at some time in your life?
Maybe like me you too have run into a wild prophet or two proclaiming that the End is Near. How did you respond?
Such was the job description of John the Baptist. His parents had him when they were both well along in years so it stands to reason that he was fairly young when they died.
Did John end up with relatives as a result or head straight into the desert as a teenager we do not know? But John did find within himself a powerful, pulsating message that drove him into the desert region of Judea.
The bible tells us that John will go on in the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah. Luke 1:17
Elijah was an Old Testament prophet of God who lived nine centuries before John. Elijah had the same message as John. Repent and turn to God. God used Elijah to raise the dead separate the waters of the Jordan River and take on pagan priests in a contest of fire on Mount Carmel. 1 Kings 18-19
In the same way that Elijah had a fiery message so too did John. Matt. 3:11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John found his way to the desert as a spiritual nomad. God seems to like to use the fire of the desert to refine the hearts of men and their faith. God would confront these men with their sin so that they would be fit messengers able to confront us about our sins.
Moses, Abraham and Joshua and the twelve tribes of Israel also marched through the desert sands in preparation to serve the Living God and John the Baptist was no exception.
John the Baptist looked like a wild man dressed in a camel hair robe that was tied with a leather belt. Surely his hair was long and tangled and his beard matted from eating wild honey and locusts. What kind of breath did that leave him with I wonder? His voice truly fulfilled the words of prophecy a voice that called and echoed from the waters of the Jordan to the sands of the desert.