How much do we look like John the Baptist?
No, I'm not asking where your camel's hair clothing and your plate of locusts and wild honey might be.
However, I notice the prophecy he fulfilled (Isaiah 40:3) and that it was kind of like his job description:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight'" (Matthew 3:3b).
John the Baptist served as Jesus' forerunner. We see in the Gospels how he preceded Christ in birth, ministry, and death. Also, if you are familiar with the Gospels, consider how his teaching was much different from that of the Pharisees and such. They emphasized ceremonial issues and over-strict law keeping. John the Baptist preached a message of repentance.
"Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father' [my family has always gone to church, I go to such and such church, I give to the needy, I am better than most people, I am not like so and so]. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones" (Matthew 3:8-9).
I see several truths about John the Baptist that should parallel to us as the Body of Christ.
#1 The Church is the forerunner to Christ's second coming.
Just as John the Baptist was the forerunner to Jesus' first coming, we as Believers are to be the forerunner to His second coming. We should be "the voice crying in the wilderness." There is a world of people who do not realize the King is coming. As the prophet Isaiah said, we should also "Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight."
#2 The Church should preach a message of repentance, not life-enhancement.
This world can find life-enhancement on Oprah, Dr. Phil, and, unfortunately, even our Christian bookstores. The church should share the message of repentance. This type of message does more than merely enhance others lives; it helps to change people's lives! I know that my life, simply enhanced, would still be a big mess! But repentance (turning away from sin and self) and believing the Gospel changed me into a child of God! (Maybe I was one of those stones John was talking about!)
#3 The Church should look very different from everyone else.
Obviously, John the Baptist had a different look to him. He didn't "fit in" with everyone else, and he didn't seem to think he needed to blend in just to share his message. Nonetheless, the crowds still came.
"Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins" (Matthew 3:5-6).
We too, the Body of Christ, should not look like the world. We should not talk like the world. We should not act like the world. We should look, talk, and act differently because we ARE different! A Believer has been changed into a new creation!
What a great deal to learn from one man's ministry. Thank you, Lord, for your life-changing message. Thank you for saving me!
In the Heart of our Home,