This is what God gave me today in His word:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:1-4)
“Repent! For the kingdom of God is near!” zealot-preachers, are a dime a dozen (at least, now they are. Perhaps there were a couple of these “end of the World” preachers back in those days too.). Loonies living in the desert and eating locusts for religious reasons? Also quite common. So what separates this guy? What makes John special enough to earn him a mention in the Bible? (Aside from the fact that he’s fulfilling the prophecy made about him). And, perhaps more importantly, why should any of this even matter to us?
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)
John is in the Bible to teach us several important lessons. The two we see here, are that:
- We should know our place compared to God’s. John says that he isn’t even worthy of trying Christ’s sandals, and he was right. We, who are now sons of God, are somewhat different. But, being that as it is, the fear of God is still the beginning of wisdom.
- That we shouldn’t be afraid of persecution or taunting. That being said, we shouldn’t take our attire, or our meal choices, from John. The point, being that we shouldn’t be afraid of other people’s opinions of us, so long as those opinions derive from our being Christian. We should be some-what concerned if people consider us prideful, or arrogant (and we should be very worried if those things are actually true).
Christ did both of these things: He, when He came to Earth and became a man, recognized His place before God [Philippians 2:6-7], and He was the exact opposite of being afraid of persecution or taunting. We see Him doing these two things most clearly, on the cross. Where, though He was being both taunted and was enduring the ultimate in persecution, He forgave His tormentors. And where we see Him submitting to God – recognizing His own fully human and fully God state, to be both inferior and equal with God. Thus we see Him submitting to death, and at the same time over-coming the sin of the entire World.
The point being this: John tells us to
- Now our place. And,
- Not fear man, but to fear God.
You are Loved!