Read This: Matthew 3:1-6; Mark 1:1-6; Luke 3:1-6
The story of Jesus has reached a turning point. All the prophecies, announcements, and marvels of His coming lead to this moment. The Promised Deliverer is about to go public. The King is coming!
Arriving monarchs were always preceded by messengers — heralds who announced their arrival and prepared the way. The coming of Jesus’ messenger had been predicted hundreds of years earlier by the prophet Isaiah, so when John the Baptist made his appearance (Day 5 & Day 11), the people took note.
As a messenger, John shunned all attachment to the society he came to “prepare.” Living in the wild, dressed in animal skins, and eating locusts and honey, he awaited his King. And when the moment came, he spoke with such authority the entire region of Judea and Jerusalem trekked into the wilderness to hear him.
John’s message cut to the heart: Repent — and demonstrate your repentance!
This was new. He told them the way to peace with God was not through heredity, but brokenness. Turning from sin. Repentance.
All who repented were baptized. This was not Christian baptism as we know it. The only baptism practiced at that time was the baptism of Gentiles converting to Judaism. Since Jews were considered God’s people, non-Jews had to be baptized “into” a relationship with God by joining “God’s people.” But that wasn’t what John was doing. He was baptizing both Gentiles and Jews into relationship with God — through repentance.
For a Jew to acknowledge he was no better than a Gentile — that both were separated from God by sin — was unheard of.
Reflect on Isaiah’s prophecy. John, crying in the wilderness, making clear the way to God. Is relationship with God reserved for the Jews? For the religious? For the rich? No. It is for all people, through humility and repentance.