Summary: Are you prepared for the coming of the King? Will you accept Him or reject Him?
We are privileged to accompany a King on a journey.
Whenever a King or a great leader is going to come, there is great anticipation. There is excitement. People want to be a part of the experience. When President Bush came to Springfield, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation.
Before a King would come into a country or a city, he would send a messenger ahead of him to let the people know that he was coming.
This was no different with the King that God was going to send to earth. God sent a messenger ahead of the King. We are going to take a look at the messenger that God sent.
There had to be a reason for a King to visit, we will look at that.
Finally, whenever a king would come to town, there would be a reception. There would be elaborate receptions for the king. We are going to look at the reception that the King of Kings received.
As we look at the messenger, the reason He came, and the reception He received, let us realize that we too will have to decide how we are going to receive and respond to Jesus. How will you respond to the King of Kings?
I. THE KINGS MESSENGER. VERSES 6-8.
1. John the Baptist was sent from God. Verse 6.
Mark Moore in his book The Chronological Life of Christ: Volume 1, From Glory to Galilee writes the following about John.
John the Baptist has an interesting biography. He was the prophesied forerunner of Jesus (Isa 40:3-4; Mal 3:1; 4:5). It was his job to clear the way for Jesus by preparing people’s hearts through preaching. He entered the world through the priestly line.
His father, Zechariah, was from the course of Abijah (1 Chr 24:10) and his mother descended from Aaron (Lk 1:5). Their barren state and miraculous pregnancy is described in Luke 1 and Matthew 1. Jesus and John were related in some way (probably cousins), and John was his elder by about six months (Lk 1:36).
He was circumcised on the eighth day and set apart as a Nazirite (Lk 1:15). All else we know about John’s early life is found in Luke 1:80.
John began his prophetic ministry in A.D. 25—the 15th year of Tiberias Caesar (Lk 3:1). He attracted large crowds (Mt 3:5) as he preached and baptized in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan (Jn 1:28). His preaching is summarized in the phrase, “The kingdom of God is coming” and his ministry by immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mk 1:4).
So forceful was his preaching that many took him to be the reincarnation of Elijah, Jeremiah or another prophet (Mt 16:14). Jesus says that he was the greatest person ever born of a woman (Mt 11:11).
An interesting fact, however, is that John never performed a miracle (Jn 10:41). His greatest act, perhaps, was his baptism of Jesus. With that act his ministry wound its way to a conclusion. Although he continued to baptize (Jn 3:23; 4:1), he recognized that he had accomplished that which was set before him to do (Jn 3:30).
Herod’s antics and the vindictiveness of his evil wife, Herodias, caused the death of the last OT prophet. John was beheaded at the castle of Machaerus on the Dead Sea. Although he died through treachery, he successfully completed his God-given task. He prepared for and pointed out Jesus, the true light.
2. What was the messenger’s job? Verse 7.
a) To testify about the Light.
John was sent to identify the light! Why? What was there about Jesus as the Light that demanded identification?
When we examine the Baptist’s message in the other Gospels, we see that John focused his preaching on twin ideas: (1) the promised King of Old Testament prophecy was about to appear, and (2) His coming demanded a moral renewal.
John rebuked sin in ruler and common man alike. His tongue lashed the religious. “You brood of vipers!” he cried scornfully. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7-8) John’s job was to help people prepare for the coming messiah!
b) So that all might believe through him.
3. John was not the light. Verse 8. His job was to make sure that the focus was on Jesus and not himself.
II. WHY THE KING VISITED. VERSE 9
A. He came into the world to enlighten man. Verse 9.
Helen Keller tells of the dramatic moment when Annie Sullivan first broke through her dark, silent world with the illumination of language.
We walked down the path to the well house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Some one was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten -- a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand.