Lessons From John the Baptist
From Matthew Chapter 3, Mark 1:3-8
Luke 3:2-17, John 1:6-28
God impressed upon my heart a desire to go back to the basics and see for myself how Jesus ministered and taught his disciples to minister to those around them. It’s easy to get our eyes on others, to be bound by traditions of men, religion, etc. and miss JESUS in the middle of it all. While slowly, prayerfully, and methodically going through the gospel of Matthew, God wouldn’t let me get past Chapter 3. I was captivated, challenged and convicted by John the Baptist’s call, courage, and commitment to Christ. The word humility kept coming to mind. A much needed quality that is so lacking in business, society, the church, and sadly to say in many Christian homes.
Listen to Isaiah’s prophecy Chapter 40:3 – “A voice is calling, clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness, make smooth in the desert a highway for our God”. John the Baptist was that voice calling out in the wilderness. John was the baby boy in Elizabeth’s womb that leapt within her when she spoke with the mother of Jesus, and she was immediately filled with the holy spirit. John knew who he was, why he was here, what his purpose was…talk about the purpose driven life!
More importantly, John knew who Jesus was. In the gospels John sees Jesus coming to be baptized and says “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”.” John was a man with a mission and a message. His mission, to point others to Christ; his message, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The simplicity and humility of his mission and message are so refreshing. John a man with no seminary degree, PhD, or masters was commissioned by God Almighty to point others to Jesus “His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased”.
John, who wore a camel’s hair garment with a strap of leather around his waist, who ate locust and wild honey, who lived outside of the city in the wilderness? Not a very likely candidate for such a task in mans eyes. I love how God works. He most often chooses the “ordinary” to perform the “extraordinary”. I wonder how many churches would allow someone with John’s appearance to stand in the pulpit and preach the same message today? How about your church?
John’s life is a picture of what a true servant leader should be. He always pointed others to the coming Christ. He didn’t think more highly of himself than he should have. When the people came to him to be baptized in the Jordan River after repenting of their sins, John made sure they knew who could forgive and cleanse them from their sin, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire“. Never once did he want others to look to him, only Christ. What humility!
John the Baptist baptized our Lord and Savior, how humbling that must have been. He did it out of obedience to the Lord. When Jesus began his earthly ministry John’s disciples left him and followed Jesus. You don’t see a streak of jealousy, pride or an arrogant spirit. John said, “I must decrease, He must increase”. He humbly and gracefully let go. His mission was complete. His message had been delivered. Jesus had come to seek and save the lost.
Ask yourself these questions: Do I truly know who I am in Christ? Do I recognize who I am not? Do I know why I am here? Do I know my purpose and am I living it out in Christ, daily? Would those whom I come in contact with describe me as a woman of humility and grace? Ouch!!! Am I willing to decrease so He may increase? What am I doing today for God‘s Kingdom?
More importantly do I know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior? If we are in Christ we also have a mission and a message, we need to get busy “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
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