Summary: How do we introduce people? In this passage, we see John, the baptist and Jesus introduced in such graceful ways. May our words of introduction too be words of blessing, words of power, peace and grace!
Three Things: Matthew 3:1-17
There was a young student who had just graduated with his M.Th, fresh with his knowledge of New Testament and Greek. He was asked to introduce a colleague who had come to visit from Germany. This colleague was a pastor there. He knew what the word pastor meant, i.e., shepherd. So he said, “This morning we have to speak for us a German Shepherd!” Hopefully the message was not barked that morning.
This morning we have two introductions. In Matthew 3, we have an introduction to
I. John the Baptist, and
I. John, the Baptist
So far we have had 2 chapters in Matthew done, but we really have not been introduced to Jesus. We were introduced to the genealogy for Joseph and to Mary, then to some Magi who came to worship Jesus, and different people involved in the birth of Jesus. There is a connection between the birth and the ministry, but in the book of Matthew there is a big gap.
Sometimes I am confused when I see signs concerning infant Jesus. I wonder why would anybody advertize or put a sign up for infant Jesus, and why would anyone pray to infant Jesus? Jesus isn’t infant anymore. Yes, in chapter 2 He was born, and there were scholars from the East who came to worship Him. He went with his family; they escaped down to Egypt and came back to Israel. We do not know much about Him, there is a big skip. In chapter 3, rather than being introduced to Jesus first, we are first introduced to John, the Baptist.
READ Matthew 3:1-17
We will be having a whole collection of 3s. That comes to 18 point sermon! John the Baptist was introduced so that we could be introduced to Jesus. We have:
1) 3 people who introduce us to John the Baptist.
2) 3 affirmations to John’s identity.
3) 3 point message from John.
1) 3 people introducing John, the Baptist:
2) 3 affirmations to John’s identity:
1. For Matthew, John’s identity was from a human perspective.
Matthew tells us about John’s unique fashion sense that he wore clothing with camel’s hair. I have never worn a garment made of camel’s hair, but it sounds like it is kind of itchy and uncomfortable. He also had a leather belt around his waist, and he had a unique diet. You might have heard of the Mediterranean diet, or the low carb or high carb diet. There are all kinds of diets out there for people to lose weight. I think if I were on John, the Baptist’s diet I would definitely lose weight! His diet was locusts and honey.
John also had a unique approach. Let’s say we have a pastor introducing visitors, “Do we have any new visitors this morning?” and they stand. Then the pastor says, “You, brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee the wrath to come?” John the Baptist had not read the book, “How to win friends and influence people.” He had not read any books by John Maxwell on how to get along with each other and do business or 25 ways to win people! In fact if he had written a book, he might have written “25 ways to lose with people.”
2. Isaiah gives an introduction to John from a prophetic perspective
There was a prophecy concerning John that he would be the voice speaking in the wilderness from Isaiah 40:3, “A voice crying out in the wilderness…” If you look at Isaiah 40, the beginning of the message, it is God speaking. John’s purpose was not to have an influence on fashion! It was not to give us an idea of the best diet or the idea of an ideal preacher. He came with a very specific purpose: to introduce the world to the Lord that would come.
3. God introduces John, 600 years before he was born. He says, he is “A voice crying out in the wilderness, “make straight, or make clear the path for the Lord.””
The image is this. You have a dignitary coming into town. And have you noticed when a big politician comes, the streets of Bangalore gets smoother? Potholes get filled in. The path would be made clear for his entry into the city.
John the Baptist was sent then to prepare the hearts of the people.
He had a way of doing this.
3) 3 point message from John
1. When Jesus begins His ministry, He says, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come.” What does John, the Baptist say? He says, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come.” He is preparing the hearts of the people to receive the message of Jesus, by bringing them to a baptism of repentance, turning away from dead works.