Scripture printed text: Matthew 3:1-12


     Matthew records John the Baptist as the forerunner for Christ arrival. John prepares the way for the Messiah’s coming to save people from their sins. John who was born a miracle child, born to childless, elderly parents, Zacharius and his wife Elisabeth, the relatives of Mary the mother of Jesus. Upon Mary’s visitation of Elisabeth, and hearing her voice, the baby leaped in Elisabeth’s womb, which means that John heard and recognized Jesus in Mary’s womb. This moved him and he jumped for joy. John, who was born several months before Jesus, is a grown man preaching in the wilderness of Judea. John’s ministry was to call people to repentance of sins and acknowledgment of the coming one who cleanses people from their sins and provide the Holy Spirit who enables living right.

     John’s attire of wearing camel’s hair and his diet of eating wild honey did not stop the people from hearing his message.  People responded to his message of repentance and baptism came from all over the Jordan Valley. When they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. Despite John’s rough clothing and limited diet, people were attracted because of the quality and content of his preaching. While John’s ministry was effective, it did not come without opposition from others. The religious leaders, Pharisees and Sadducees challenged John’s ministry. In return, John called them vipers and questioned their sincerity in turning from their sins and to repentance for forgiveness. If they failed to repent, they would suffer the judgment of God.

     Church, let us praise God for sending John the Baptist as a forerunner to prepare the way for His Son, Jesus Christ. John’s purpose was to call people to repentance. Jesus purpose is to save all people. Jesus provides the desire for righteousness of God to those who believes in Him. While the desire to avoid divine retribution may be a motive for right living, it is not the best motive. We should desire to live right because it is the right thing to do in response to God’s love for us. Pray that God will use us to help prepare people for salvation through Jesus finished work on the cross. His death, burial and resurrection solidifies our soul salvation forever.