In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'”
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
I would hope, if I had been an Israelite in this time, that I could have been counted as one of the followers of John the Baptist. What a sight he must have been! What a job he had to do!! Preparing the way for the coming Christ! I imagine, being that they were cousins, John and Jesus playing together as children, not realizing at that time the things to come. John being told by his parents the story of the miracle of his and Christ’s conception and birth. Can you imagine knowing that an angel of the Lord told your parents all about you before they even knew they were expecting you? The thought blows my mind! But the excitement and amazement that comes with a mind blown is ….. (insert your own profound word of wonderment)!
Let us learn a lesson from John…be a voice in the wilderness! Where is your wilderness this Christmas season? The mall? Wal-Mart? Home? 😉 Are you being God’s voice this season? Have you wished a frazzled mom a “Merry Christmas” and offered her and her wild children your place in the long grocery line?