Summary: Even in this day and age, the voice of hope has not been silenced. The cry still comes to each one of us in the wilderness of our lives, to repent and reconcile with the one who is holding the door to the Kingdom.
15. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
16. John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
17. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
21. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
A couple of children went to the beach one day and began collecting shells. By the time they were ready to leave they had quite a collection. But as they were driving back home, they found that many of the shells began to move. They actually had a collection of hermit crabs. Thinking they would make good pets, they put them in a fish bowl. But the next day, a lot of them were dead. The children cleaned up the bowl and put in fresh water, thinking that it would solve the problem, but one by one they continued to die. A few remained alive but unless there was a way to take them back to the beach which was a 3 hour trip by car, they too were destined to deteriorate and die. To put it bluntly, it was a hopeless situation.
Many living in this world today face a situation similar to those hermit crabs. Everyday, we are deteriorating, dying and the sad thing is not many of us know what is going on. We are bogged down with worries, concerns about worldly things and indulge in the pleasures of this world without knowing that in the process, it kills us...spiritually. We
have been separated from the presence of the Lord for so long that we do not know what it is like to live a holy life nor do we know enough to look for it. We are satisfied with our jobs, our family, our friends but we forget about our spirit. Yet this spirit is the one who will live on later, in eternal joy and peace with our Lord or in eternal pain and misery in the darkness of hell.
The people of Israel in Jesus’ day were also in much the same situation. Even though they were battered and scared, many lived in the hope that “the Kingdom of God” would soon come with the advent of the Messiah. Their long winter of disappointment hadn’t vanished. Even when the voice of prophecy as echoed through the ages about the Savior’s birth had ceased and remained buried deep under ground, layer upon layer; much like the ancient remains of Jerusalem whose desolation of many generations remained layer upon layer, there remained a faithful few who longed to see the day when their redeemer would come. There was a flickering hope rooted deep in the soil of their hearts, that the long sought after Kingdom would soon come.