July 14, 2021
Thank you for receiving this reminder to pray for our prodigals and for revival. We hope this morning’s devotional will be helpful and encourage you in your journey with God.
John, son of the elderly couple, Elizabeth and Zechariah, was born shortly before his cousin Jesus. John’s life was prophesied about seven hundred years earlier by Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 40:3-5). He is often referred to as John the Baptist, to distinguish him from the John the Apostle, but he did much more than just baptize people.
There are a few aspects of his life and character that are worthy of emulating. As we follow the good example of those who have gone before us, we can set a good example to those who are following after us - as Paul said to Timothy, “Be an example to all believers” (1 Timothy 4:12).
John’s purpose: he prepared people to receive Jesus. This was the great privilege that John had. He preached repentance. He preached with power and conviction as he sought to prepare the hearts of these people to accept the Lord Jesus.
It all climaxed at the Jordan River with John’s compelling statement, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). What a beautiful title John gave to Jesus. It was one that marked Him as the only sacrifice for our sins.
While this life mission of John (as the person introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel) was unique, there is a sense in which each of us has the same privilege in our lives - sharing Jesus with others. Paul said, “We are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
John’s courage: John said what was true, even when it cost him dearly. From what we read, he was never a man to mince his words. He didn’t beat around the bush. He was courageous in his message. In Matthew 3, it says that many people from Jerusalem, Judea, and the whole region went out to listen to him speak and to be baptized by him. He spoke a warning message of coming judgment. He spoke of the need to turn from sinful behavior. He prophesied about the message and work of Jesus.
One of the recipients of his message was Herod the Tetrarch, who had taken his brother's wife as his own wife. Herod was an evil man and John was not afraid to rebuke him for it (Luke 3:18-20). As a result, John was put in prison and eventually beheaded.
It takes a great amount of courage and wisdom to speak the message of the gospel today. Our world is sinful and people need to be reminded that God is holy and sin will be punished. May each of us have the courage to share this message of warning and hope with those God brings in our path.
John’s humility: John accepted the work God gave him. One of the statements made about him is that he didn’t do any miracles (John 10:41). Yet from the mouth of Jesus we hear, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). A statement like this could easily puff up a person's ego. But what we hear from John is this, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
John recognized who he was and who Jesus was. This understanding will help us in dealing with pride that so easily rises. Like John, we are voices to share the good news, and we need to keep our Lord Jesus Christ at the center of our message.
John’s legacy: John transferred his followers over to Jesus. The concern of those in the gospel of John three was that John’s disciples were now beginning to follow Jesus. Naturally speaking, as the crowds increase, one becomes more and more popular, and the desire to make a name for oneself increases. This was not John’s attitude. He recognized that the people looking up to him were not his, but given to him to manage for a time. When the Lord Jesus came into view, John was quick to point them in His direction and encourage them to follow Jesus.
Whatever the form of leadership, whether church, home, or business, those under you are there for you to lead to Jesus. We are not in a popularity contest. May our legacy be to lead others to our Savior and Lord.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel