Following Jesus • 27 / Great expectations

Read This: Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:15-18

Why did so many people flock to John? Because they longed for God — and God had been silent for a long time (Day 8).

Except for that blip thirty years earlier. There had been talk of a great King (Day 19). Angels appearing to shepherds to announce His birth (Day 14). Magi from the east coming to worship him (Day 20). Simeon and Anna prophesying over a baby in the temple (Day 17). And Zechariah the priest, John’s own father, also receiving an angelic visit to prepare him for John’s miraculous birth . . . and calling (Day 11).

Now that same John was preaching in God’s name, stirring hearts, and bringing conviction.

Naturally, the people were expectant. They discussed the Messiah, wondering if it might be John. But John said no. Then, he told them how to recognize the Messiah when He did come:

  • I’m baptizing with water for repentance. The Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (as only God can do, and as prophesied in Joel 2:28, Ezekiel 36:25-26, and Malachi 3:1-3).
  • He will be so much greater than me that I am not even worthy to remove his sandals (a menial task performed by the lowest servants).
  • He will wield God’s authority to judge between the righteous and the wicked — something no mere man is qualified to do.

Then John explained God’s plan for their salvation.

Everything John said prepared the people to meet their Messiah. The One who would deliver them from a fate far worse than Roman rule. The Messiah would deliver them from their separation from God.

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