John the Baptist “prepared the way” for people to accept the Messiah….. God’s Son. Up and to that time individually, people couldn’t get close to God. The New Covenant with God was about to come to fruition….this covenant would now be written on people’s hearts instead of simply on tablets of stone, so to speak. John challenged people to confess their sin individually….there is a new way to relate to God! Is there change needed in your life before you can understand the message of Jesus? I believe the answer is , “not much”. However, you do have to admit that forgiveness is needed before it can be accepted. So, the change needed is simply…….ask forgiveness for the wrongs you have done and start to take on a new, open frame of mind about Jesus.
6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It’s funny to me that John the Baptist didn’t fit the mold of the typical religious leaders of the day. Many were greedy, selfish, self-serving….and many were preoccupied with winning the praise of people rather than living out the message of God. John the Baptist separated himself from the evil and hypocrisy of the day and lived a different kind of life. He not only preached God’s law….he lived it!
As a follower of Jesus, do you live what you preach? When people come to know you, do you live one way and profess another?
John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus…..yet he did not bow to petty jealousy and did not let this keep him from giving glory to the one who was to come. Do we give glory to ourselves or do we give the glory to Jesus for all that happens in our lives?
Let’s take a look at verse 8, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John the Baptist baptized with water which signified preparation for the work of Jesus…..yet this baptism was a baptism that could not save, it was a ceremonial cleansing. Much like the baptism we practice today.
Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit! Meaning that as we accept Jesus, we are given the gift of a helper, the Holy Spirit and become part of the body of Christ, the body of believer’s and followers of Jesus Himself.
In Matthew 3:2, John the Baptist proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near”. Jesus proclaimed in Mark 1:15, “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
May WE seek the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us walk the walk each and every day and may WE daily repent and not only believe the Good News….may WE live it!