4th Day of Advent – John the Baptist

By Simon B.

As we continue the advent series leading up to the hopeful day of the 25th, we continue our blog with a few thoughts on John the Baptist. Lets begin by reading his big part in Matthew Chapter 3:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

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.’”[a]

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. 10 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.

11 “I baptize you with[b] 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[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 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.”

Wisdom and Willingness

In his time, he was considered a wise man, someone worth listening to who spoke with authority and prophesy. He wasn’t rich or of a high status within the Jewish eschalons. Yet his message gives us the hope of a future not just in his lifetime, but for the rest of humanity across the ages. John the Baptist is rarely heard about in the Christmas story, but he proclaims baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of our sins, open to all, and then he says another will come after him who will not baptize with water, but with the Holy Spirit.

By proclaiming this, John showed his readiness to do as God asked and showed us all how to be passionate in following Christ. His inspired and brave actions give brilliance to the Christmas story.

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