Ministry #1 November 13 The Messenger
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.” – Mark 1:1-6
“And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” – Luke 1:80
God chose John the Baptist as His messenger: The one who would point everyone to the Messiah, the one who would baptize Jesus, the one who He formed and shaped for this role. John was the answer to the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” He was shaped and created for a purpose. I do not know about you, but that brings me a lot of peace and a lot of joy. I remember growing up and thinking I wanted to be a teacher, for those who know me well now would probably laugh at that idea. I am not a teacher; God did not make me to be a teacher. He gifted me with other talents, and I believe that we are all created with talents and gifts. I think sometimes we are so focused on what we want to do and not what God has equipped us to do. Most importantly, though, is that no matter what He has shaped you to be, we are to use that to point people to Jesus.
“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.” – Mark 1:6
I have heard the saying ‘be in the world, but not of it,’ and I have always thought of John the Baptist when I have heard this. He dressed weird, ate strange things; he was not part of the world. But I believe this idea has lent Christians an excuse to huddle together and shun the world and in doing so has somehow created a message that we are better because we are separate. I read a blog the other day that talked about this concept and shed some light on it. David Mathis, on the Desiring God website, said this, “Jesus’ true followers have not only been crucified to the world, but also raised to new life and sent back in to free others. We have been rescued from the darkness and given the Light not merely to flee the darkness, but to guide our steps as we go back in to rescue others. So let us revise the popular phrase ‘in, but not of.’ Christians are not of this world, but sent into it. Not of, but sent into.”
John the Baptist was given the privilege to go before Jesus, we have the privilege of coming after Jesus and as Mathis said we have been “given the Light not merely to flee the darkness, but to guide our steps as we go back in to rescue others.” John the Baptist was actively “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” We are the messengers now; we are to point people to Jesus, not by isolating ourselves but to actively share the Gospel.
Assistant to Lead Pastor