'Week 2
John the Baptist - 2'

Tuesday Reflection

8th December 2020

'his life and mission....'

"I baptise you with water
 for repentance.
 But after me will come one
 who is more powerful than I,
 whose sandals I am not fit
 to carry.
 He will baptise you
 with the Holy Spirit
 and with fire"

..... (Matthew 3:11).

John the Baptist was a key
character before
and during
the ministry of Jesus.

It was his job
to point toward

"the Lamb of God
 who takes away
 the sin of the world"

..... (John 1:29)

Without John the Baptist,
the nation of Israel
would have not been
prepared for the coming of
Jesus and His kingdom.

John didn't let anything
get in his way,
but kept his heart set on
the mission
given him by God.

He lived in the desert,
took the Nazarite vows
and lived his days
with specific purpose.

His clothing
and diet were simple;
he wasn't loaded down with
the cares and desires
of this world.

Though his life may seem
extreme and most of us
may not easily relate
to a diet of locusts
(remember the Carob bush
mentioned yesterday?)
and honey,
the heart of his life
was obedience to God's call.

He said "yes"
to God's commission;
even when it was not easy;
even when he could have
chosen his own way.

He didn't allow
his own desires,
or even other people,
interfere with what
he knew he was there to do.

He lived with focused
determination and purpose.

He knew and
understood God's call,
and he pursued it
with his whole heart
and life.

Jesus' baptism was unique.
It was different from
the "baptism of repentance"
that John had been performing.

It was not a
"Christian baptism"
as we experience today.

Christ's baptism
was a step of obedience
at the beginning of his
public ministry
to identify himself with
John's message of
and the revival movement
had begun.

By submitting to
the waters of baptism,
Jesus linked himself
with those who were
coming to John
and repenting.

He was setting an example
for all of his
followers as well.

Jesus was sinless;
he did not need cleansing.

No, the act of baptism
was part of Christ mission
in coming to earth.

Like previous priests of God,
Moses, Nehemiah and Daniel -
Jesus was confessing sin
on behalf of the people
of the world.

Likewise, he was endorsing
John's ministry of baptism.

Jesus Himself said
these words of John.

"Truly I tell you,
 among those born of women
 there has not risen
 anyone greater
 than John the Baptist;
 yet whoever is least
 in the kingdom of heaven
 is greater than he"

..... (Matthew 11:11)

What was it about this man,
his life and death,
that made him so
it certainly wasn't
his appearance!

John was a strong
and humble leader;
he didn't live for the
opinions of others,
but lived with compassion
to see others brought to
repentance towards Christ.

Many people followed John,
came to hear him preach,
but he didn't let that
make him become proud
and self-focused.

He preached repentance of sins,
pointing others to the Saviour.
Deep humility and obedience
characterised his life
and ministry.

"I baptise you with water
 for repentance.
 But after me will come
 one who is more powerful than I,
 whose sandals I am not
 fit to carry.
 He will baptise you
 with the Holy Spirit
 and with fire"

..... (Matthew 3:11).

Many people asked John
who he really was.
They wondered if he was
the promised Messiah,
or Elijah,
or even a false prophet.

Yet John clearly
and firmly answered
"No" to all of these,
and repeatedly pointed
others to Christ.

When an argument
had developed between
some of John's disciples
as they saw many people
begin to follow Jesus;
jealousy had set in
and they were disturbed
at the turn of events.

Yet John did not give in
to that need for "success"
in the world's eyes.

He knew this was no
popularity contest.
His purpose remained strong,

"He must become greater,
 I must become less"

..... (John 3:30)

John never wavered
from the purposes set
for him by God.

How can we learn from
this humble but great man?