Today’s Reading - Matthew 3:1-17
11 “I baptize you with 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 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.” - Matthew 3:11-12
These words might sound a little harsh to you but don’t forget who John is talking to. Pharisees and Sadducees. And be reminded although they might sound harsh they are the truth and sometimes as we say the truth hurts. John’s task was to prepare people for the ministry of Jesus as part of prophetic fulfillment. His task was to make the path straight for people to receive Jesus as his ministry unfolds which meant be very clear to the audience in the moment about the purpose of Jesus. During this time together in Matthew we are talking around the big idea of preparing ourselves to be holy vessels as we move toward the cross and the resurrection. I believe part of our own preparation is to be a John and prepare the way for people who may be questioning their faith or struggling in matters of their relationship with Christ to fully experience the power of the cross and the resurrection. Our audience will most likely be totally different from John’s, people as legalistic and rigid in their ways as those he spoke to in this context. The Lord will bring into your path your audience of people seeking something in their life. Make the path straight so they discover Jesus on the way to the cross. It will be a wonderful discovery for a person experiencing some sense of lostness. John’s message is important as lostness usually revolves around the need for repentance. Our own needs and the concept of holiness involves repentance. The message of this season is repentance. Becoming a holy vessel is breaking free from the stranglehold of sin which begins with confession and repentance. Preparing the way is an important message for each of us and for many people we are connected to each and every day.
Heavenly Father, it is easy to fall into a mindset of thinking John was the preparer for Jesus and His ministry and we confess we often do that. We often think all the paths have been made straight. May we be people who prepare not only ourselves but make a path straight so someone can clearly see Jesus. May we passionately desire to be clean and holy before you in all our ways in order to be a preparer like John. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.