Read Matthew 3:1-11
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful that I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11
By all accounts to look at him, John was kind of a strange man. He lived by himself in the desert, wore strange clothes, ate odd foods, yet Jesus will later declare him the greatest man who ever lived.
According to John Mac Arthur in his book, Twelve Unlikely Heroes, “All of that was purposeful, a radical approach intended to awaken people from their spiritual slumber and to call them out of the dead legalism of their religious practices.”
What a sharp contrast to the religious leaders of the day who were making rules that were impossible to follow.
What was going on out there in the desert that so many people were talking about? John was the first prophet that God had sent in 400years! Now there was a “voice in the wilderness” calling for them to repent of their sins. Curiosity as well as conviction drew the crowds to him.
Why did God send him? People needed to get ready for the coming Messiah. They needed to see through the rituals and not just depend on their ancestry to bring them salvation. They needed to take personal responsibility for their sins and repent. That way they would be ready to hear what Jesus was about to show them.
As we face a new year, are you ready to take personal responsibility for your actions? Wipe the slate clean and look to Jesus for your strength and salvation? Have you repented of your sins? The time is now!
Questions and Activities:
- Go to a quiet place and ask God to show you your faults. Write them down. Then, one by one, cross them out as you ask God for forgiveness. Then tear up the paper and throw it away. Repeat weekly, if not daily.
- Read the promises in I John 1:5-10 and Psalm 103:12.
- Cut out, color, and display today’s ornament.