Tag: John the Baptist

Thankful for Prophetic Voices!

Scripture reading for October 12th:  Malachi 3-4, Matthew 1-3:2

Key Scriptures: Malachi 4:5-6  “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”    Matthew 3:1-2  “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  

The Old Testament and the New Testament are separated by about 400 years as far as the writing of Malachi and the coming of Jesus Christ.  Malachi’s last prophetic word was that the Lord would send Elijah back to warn the people before the coming of the day of judgment.  Jesus Christ taught that John the Baptist, his cousin, was the fulfillment preparing the way for Christ.  Prophetic voices prepare the way to help God’s people believe and receive the kingdom!

Thankful for Christ’s confirmation:  “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.  For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.  He who has ears, let him hear.”   (Matthew 11:12-15)

 

 

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John the Baptist risen from the dead?

Scripture reading for January 20th:  Matthew 14

“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead!  That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  (Matthew 14:1-2)   Even the government officials who were not Jews developed opinions about Jesus and His miraculous powers!  Herod had a guilty conscience about killing John the Baptist at the request of his bother’s wife and daughter.  He knew the Jews considered him a prophet.  Now he deduced that John had come back from the dead in the person of Jesus.  Who is this Man?  That question decides life and death, heaven and hell!

Jesus withdrew upon hearing of John’s death and performed many miracles and fed five thousand men and a larger number of women and children with five loaves of bread and two fishes.  After picking up the left-over’s, Jesus sent the disciples on ahead in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.  He went to pray by Himself.  “During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  “It’s a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  (Matthew 14:25-27)  Peter even left the boat and walked to Jesus as His bidding before sinking in the waves.   Jesus demonstrated to His disciples another aspect of who He was!  He was not a ghost, but one who had control of the wind and waves!

Jesus wants to reveal the Truth to all who will receive!  He is more that a resurrected prophet!  He is more than a “holy ghost”!  He is the Son of God and Lord who saves us!

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Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Fire!

Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 3

John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, came on the scene when Jesus was nearly 30 years old.  He preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and that all men needed to repent.   John wore the clothes of a prophet and lived in the lonely places of the Judean wilderness.  Matthew records that he was the one spoken of by Isaiah, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'” (Isaiah 40:3)  Many people came and confessed their sins and were baptized by John in the Jordan River.

When the Saducees and Pharisees came to observe, John warned them of their need to repent and be baptized.  He told them that having a genetic tie to Abraham was not enough with God.  God was looking for fruit of obedience in each life and would judge all who had none!  He also warned them that there was one coming after him who would be more powerful and honored.  The “Coming One” would baptize men with the Holy Spirit and with fire, not just water!  This One would gather in the faithful, but punish the wicked!  (Matthew 3:11-12)

Jesus then appeared to be baptized by John.  John recognized Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)   Jesus was insistent and John baptized Him.  As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit came down and rested on Him like a dove, and a Voice from heaven stated: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)  Water baptism is a step of obedience that all disciples should follow.  But Jesus also is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and Fire!  Go after all He has for you!

 

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Fruit of repentance!

Scripture reading for March 18th: Luke 3:1-22, Psalms 61:1-8, Proverbs 11:16-17

John the Baptist was a preacher who spoke plainly to prepare God’s people for the coming of the Lord.  He knew that repentance was more than just a prayer or being immersed in water.  There must be a change inside of the heart that was reflected in how one lived.  He especially  tried to reach those who were caught in the trap of religion.

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  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.”” (Luke 3:7-9)  John called them a ‘brood of vipers’. Vipers were poisonous snakes that bit the children of Israel in the desert as they wandered there and complained.  Poisonous snakes were associated with evil and the evil one, Satan.

John further warned them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance and not trust in the fact that Abraham was their father.  The Jews had come to simply rely on the promises of God to Abraham and assumed because they had his blood in their veins, God would bless them.  They asked John what they should do to bring this fruit of repentance out of their lives.  They seemed clueless to this command.

John gave them some examples.  If one had two coats, he should share with someone who had none.  If one had food, they should share with one who had no food.  If they happened to be a tax collector, notorious for taking lots of extra fees for themselves, they should only collect what was required.  To those who were soldiers, John instructed them not to extort money or accuse people falsely to get more for themselves.  They should be content with their pay.  (Luke 3:10-14)

Real repentance is immediate change from breaking God’s laws to simple obedience.  It is showing love, rather than selfish indulgence.  It is centered on doing God’s will instead of my will.  Examine your life–do you have the fruit of repentance?

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Preparing the way!

Scripture reading for March 13th: Luke 1:1-25, Psalm 56:1-13, Proverbs 11:8

Luke was a Greek doctor who became a follower of Jesus Christ.  He wrote a detailed account of the life of Jesus that we now know as the Gospel of Luke.  He followed this with Acts,  a history of the early church from Pentecost through the spread of the Gospel to Rome by the Apostle Paul.  Luke’s theme  in his Gospel was:  “Jesus the Son of Man”.  (Luke 3:23-37)  Luke knew mans physical needs from his life work.  He wrote about the One who could heal not only bodies, but broken souls as well!

Luke begins his account with the supernatural announcement of a coming pregnancy and birth to a couple who had been barren but prayed for a child.  Zechariah was a Levite who served in the temple and his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.  They had served faithfully and were getting older.  Zechariah was chosen by lot to offer incense before the Lord at the Altar of Incense in the temple.  As he was performing this duty, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and spoke. “Do not be afraid, Zechariah: you prayer has been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.  He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.  He is never to take wine, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.  Many people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Repentance prepares the way for Christ’s grace and rule!  Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sin.  At that time, the world was filled with broken families, dead religion, and disobedience to the Lord.  The first step back to God was awakening the people’s hearts to their desperate need to turn back to God.  There is the same need today.   Jesus is coming soon!  Are you ready to see Him?

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The Holy Spirit and Fire!

Scripture reading for January 3rd: Matthew 3, Psalms 2:7-12, Proverbs 1:15-19

“I baptize 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 baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  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.” (Matthew 3:11-12)

John the Baptist was the last prophet in the Old Testament who came in the spirit and mold of Elijah.  (Malachi 4:5-6)  Malachi had spoken of him in his last word over 400 years earlier.  John came calling people to repentance and insisting that everyone needed to be baptized.  Baptism was something that new converts to Judaism were called to do, but John insisted that all needed it.  This angered the religious establishment but drew huge crowds of hungry people who were hoping to prepare themselves spiritually for the coming Messiah.

John told of the One coming after him!  This One would bring a new baptism, the Holy Spirit and fire!  As we seek to prepare ourselves for this new year, we would do well to seek Jesus for a fresh baptism or filling with the precious Holy Spirit!  The fire was a symbol of the presence of God.  Natural fire brought heat, light, and energy to those close to it; the fire of the Holy Spirit brings a holy energy to be a witness for the Lord.  The fire of God’s amazing love will burn hot in those so baptized and they will share their love of Jesus and God’s love in them with those who have not heard!

It is interesting to note that Jesus is pictured by John with an instrument of harvest in his hands.  His purpose is to gather His wheat into the barn.  The wheat represents those who are believers in Christ and have the kernel of the Holy Spirit and God’s life in them.  The barn represents God’s Kingdom and rule.  Those who are “chaff”, have no life in them and are only fit for the unquenchable fire!  The baptism of Jesus with the Holy Spirit and Fire is ours for the asking!  (Luke 11:9-13)  Don’t go another day without this precious gift!

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