Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
Matthew 3:1-6; 11-12
3 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”
4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
When I was in high school, I had a job working at my home church as part of our maintenance staff. My job was to make sure that the church was cleaned and ready to go each Sunday morning for worship. We also were responsible for making sure that the church was ready to go for other activities which took place during the week. My role was not the pastor, nor was it being a deacon. My role was to was to prepare the church weekly for worship as church members, visitors and leaders come to fellowship and worship. I knew and understood my role at that season of life and chose to embrace it.
In Matthew 3 we see a perfect picture of a man who was called of God who understood and embraced his role. In the context of the passage, John the Baptist was the first prophet called of God in the last 400 years. Remember it had been 400 years since the Lord had spoken. An angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and let her know that as a virgin she was going to give birth to Jesus (Matthew 1:21). An angel of the Lord also appears to Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1 letting them know that they were to deliver John the Baptist. John was known by Jesus Himself as the greatest man born on earth (Matthew 11:11). He was the last of the prophets of Old. John was the real deal. Here is the thing though, in light of all of that, he knew that he was called to prepare the way of the real hero; Jesus Christ. Just as Elijah did in his ministry, John the Baptist did as well, engaging a wilderness generation by preaching the Gospel.
Listen friend, in the same way we are called to prepare the way of the Lord coming to encounter our lost friends and neighbors by sharing the truth of the Gospel. Our lives here on earth are not about us. We are not the heroes, Jesus is. We do not have the ability to save anyone, Jesus does. We step out and share the reality that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only one worthy to be lived for. We share the hope of Jesus with others, letting them know that He came, lived a perfect life we couldn’t live and died the death we should have died so that we can have life in His name. We share in faith and in confidence that God will move and that people will repent and place their faith and trust in Jesus.
We are called to engage a wilderness generation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ just as John the Baptist did. He prepared the way of the Lord. He didn’t claim to be a Savior, he recognized and understood that he was God’s servant sent to proclaim about the true savior Jesus Christ. May you in your life today choose to emulate the example of John. We are not anyone’s savior. We are called to “prepare the way” by telling others about the real Savior!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Heavenly Father Lord, thank you for saving me. Help me to live as a light in my community, neighborhood and world. Help me to follow the example of John the Baptist in choosing to not make life about me, but rather choose to live my life pointing others to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”