2016-12-22 - John's Purpose
Luke 1:16-17 (CEV) John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God. He will go ahead of the Lord with the same power and spirit that Elijah had. And because of John, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. That is how John will get people ready for the Lord.
The summarized purpose for the life of John the Baptist was to get people ready for the arrival of the Lord. In Luke 3:4-6, John fulfills a prophecy of Isaiah telling the people to make roads and paths straight, to fill valleys and level mountains, etc. His call was “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.” The roads and valleys that needed to be prepared were the hearts and minds of the people themselves.
The call is no different today. Chapter 3 of Luke applies to everyone, including those of us who call Jesus Lord and Savior. Make sure our houses (hearts and minds) are in order. If we want to make an impact on the world we must be reflections of the life of Jesus.
Gandhi was shrewd enough to tell missionaries, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” When asked why he did not embrace Christianity, Gandhi said it offered nothing he could not get from his own religion, observing …
“…“to be a good Hindu also meant that I would be a good Christian. There is no need for me to join your creed to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or try to follow His example.”
John walked the Jordan Valley raising the alert that the long-awaited Messiah was coming. Messiah did indeed come. And He will come again. The fact that Israel had to be called back to God means they had fallen way at least to indifference, if not unbelief. It sounds a lot like today to me. Jesus came proclaiming the good news to anyone who would listen. The last thing Luke records Jesus telling his disciples to do was to tell the nations to turn to God. (Luke 22:47-48)
We have a treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7) within us to share with the nations, starting in our own towns and villages.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.