“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ””
Luke 3:1-6 NKJV
For four hundred years, the word of the Lord had been silent. The people of Israel, had largely done what was right in their own eyes, and established a religious system that had little to nothing to do with the faith of their fathers. While there was an air of piety amongst those who considered themselves the spiritual elite, there was in reality, much sin.
“as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ””
Luke 3:4-6 NKJV
He was not like all the others. There was no grand pomposity, no regal presentation, but a mere man of complete simplicity, dressed in rough garments, unkempt, but proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God with great passion and authority.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
John 1:6-9 NKJV
The Light of God pierced the darkness of those times, and those who were hidden in that darkness, professing to be holy, were shocked and alarmed as the presence of this man in the wilderness challenging the very power structure that they had created.
They were alarmed further at the mention of the One who was coming, who would shake the very foundations of all they held dear, giving the common people a glimpse of God, who they had worked so diligently to keep hidden behind their ornate robes.
“Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”
John 1:24-28 NKJV
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
John 1:29-30 NKJV
John was sent into the world as a forerunner, one to come and announce the coming of the Lord. In his ministry, there was conviction, as he was placed in conflict with the status quo.
In many ways, we who are the followers of Jesus today, are in much the same situation as John was when he happened on the scene. There are many who have created their own religions, and called them Christianity. The have taught the traditions of men, while guiding their flocks in worship to themselves, rather than God.
We are in a time when those who are willing to stand against the flow, are being called to be like John, announcing the soon returning of the Lord.
I have found that standing for Jesus, even amongst others who profess to believe, can be hazardous, as flesh battles Spirit, and those who have sought their own glory, seek to destroy those who come for the glory of God.
John not only proclaimed the glory of the coming Christ, but he stood for what was right, speaking truth to power, rebuking even Herod of his sin. We are living in a world which cannot comprehend the light, as the darkness has become so pervasive, that it has become the false light, as humanity seeks to call evil good and good evil.
We will face many battles, and much opposition as we call out in the wilderness. There will be times when we feel like no one is listening, and we are surrounded by those who hate God.
Brothers and sisters, know that you can cry out to God, and take to heart that what you are doing is according to the will of God. At one point John was struggling as he languished in prison.
“And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.””
Luke 7:19-23 NKJV
Let us go boldly, laying everything on the line as we profess our faith, and proclaim the Gospel. Each of us is a walking miracle, as life has been transformed. We have been transitioned from sinner to saint, from destiny in hell to one eternally with Jesus.
When the trials come, and they will, let us cry out with confidence, to the One who is our help.
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah”
Psalms 61:1-4 NKJV
Let us be the John (s) of our generation, speaking truth while there is still time.