John The Baptist
In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
I’ve always known that John the Baptist preached in the wilderness, but I’ve never questioned why this was the first place he preached, until now. With such an important message to declare, one would think that he would go to the biggest and most influential audience of the day – those in the major cities? I wonder who first heard this message of repentance; perhaps a weary traveller or a community of lepers and outcasts? We aren’t told who first heard the message, but we are told that as he preached, “People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River” (Matthew 3:5-6)
John was called to preach in the wilderness and as he did, God brought the people to him and the miracle of repentance and baptism followed.
Then, as John preached the message God had given him, in the place God had called him to, the Messiah he’d spoken of so passionately came out to him and was baptised by him.
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. (Matthew 3:13-15)
John’s faithful obedience to the call of God on his life ushers in the promised Messiah and ensures that all glory goes to God alone.
Perhaps you find yourself in what feels like a wilderness right now, or maybe you sense God is calling you to a season in the wilderness? All you see right now is a dry wasteland and yet God is about to unlock a mighty spring of living water from deep within you. Perhaps your wilderness is a lack of finances, maybe you don’t have influential connections or you lack skills and experience, or maybe like John, you sense the Lord is calling you to a community of people who seem far removed from all that is familiar to you?
What you sense God is calling you to makes no sense humanly speaking, but like John, remain faithful and step out boldly in the direction He is leading you. As you do, the Lord your God will provide all you need and He will do more than you could ask or imagine and it will be to His glory and for the extension of His Kingdom.
© 2021 by Ruth O’Reilly-Smith