Summary: Our message today is that same that John the Baptist had - preach repentance and salvation and remission of sin because Jesus is coming soon.
Preach the Coming of Jesus
By Pastor Jim May
Luke Chapter 3:2-18
God’s plan for the salvation of man was coming to pass. Jesus had been born in Bethlehem and he began to grow and gain wisdom and stature; gaining favor with both God and man. He learned quickly and, at 12 years of age, we find him sitting in the temple with the religious elders, teaching them about the scripture. They were astounded by the wisdom and understanding of this young man. At that young age Jesus was teaching the teachers and they just couldn’t understand how he could know so much. If only they could have realized that he didn’t just understand the scriptures; Jesus had inspired the scriptures and was the living embodiment of the scripture. He was, and is, the Living Word who was made flesh and walked among men.
Jesus could have been the ultimate in problem teenagers if he had chosen to. After all, what did he need a mother and father for? He could no doubt have made it on his own for he had the power to create anything that he would need. Yet, in order to be perfect in all of his ways and to fulfill all scripture, the very Son of God made himself subject to the teaching, training and leadership of Joseph and Mary. He grew up as every other child and remained under their care until the day came that he was to become a man according to the Law of Moses.
We, in America, think of our kids as being adults at age 21, and sometimes even at age 18. I submit to you that not many of us knew much of anything at 18 or 21, and if we had waited a little longer to gain some wisdom and understanding in the ways of the world, we could have avoided some of our mistakes that were made in those early years. Under the Law of Moses, in effect at the time that Jesus was born, a boy did not become a man until he reached 30 years of age.
Just a few months before Jesus had been born, there was another little boy born in Israel. He was the cousin of Jesus and the scripture says in Luke 1:15 that this young man, by the name of John, was full of the Holy Ghost from the moment he was born. John’s whole purpose in life was to be the forerunner, the evangelist, who would announce the coming of the Lord to a nation steeped in the darkness of sin.
God never intended for the birth and life of his Son to be a secret. He had revealed that Jesus would be born through many witnesses throughout the Old Testament. He had given Isaiah words to write that described, in detail, what Jesus’ purpose would be. God had sent his holy angels to sing Hallelujah on the hills of Judea. He had placed a star in the sky to guide those who were watching right to the very doorstep of Jesus’ house. He had created John to be his forerunner, preaching the coming of the Lord. It wasn’t God’s fault that no one saw the coming of the Son of God except for a few shepherds, a few wise men and some barnyard animals. God had tried to give every warning; every clue possible; but as usual, mankind just wasn’t listening, wasn’t watching and didn’t really understand what they were waiting for. Though Israel, as a nation, had longed for their Messiah to come, they really didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
We do not know just how long John preached the coming of the Lord, but I am convinced that he did not start preaching until he had reached 30 years of age too. Regardless of his age though, John burst upon the scene in a blaze of fire and brimstone preaching. It had been hundreds of years since Israel had heard this kind of preaching. John’s message was strong and uncompromising. He preached without favor or fear of any man. He had a message to deliver and deliver it he did.
John’s message was one of repentance and remission of sins. Luke 3:4-6 says that he was, "… The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
John wasn’t a man to mince words. He spoke what the Spirit inspired him to say and just let the chips fall where they may. When the religious leaders and the crowds of people would come near they never left without getting an earful of God’s message for the hour. Listen to how strong his message was.