John the Baptist

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” Matthew 3:1-3 NKJV

There will be one making the way for Him at His first arrival – and John the Baptizer fulfilled this.  There will be an Elijah preparing the way for the second coming.  And in between there is a great commission that instructs us to do the same! We must take this message serious – repent!  

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Matthew, chapter 3, the book of Mark, chapter 1, and the book of Luke, chapter 3 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  

Let me introduce you to my friend Matthew. He was a tax collector and very detail oriented and he provides one of the MOST detailed accounts of Jesus’s life and ministry.  Matthew was written around 70 AD when Jerusalem and the temple had fallen, although many believe he kept notes and a journal the entire time he was with Jesus. At the time it was written the believing Jews struggled with the gentile inclusion – and with the fall of the temple and holy city they struggled with the question of was Jesus really the Christ.  Matthew was writing to them. Right from the beginning in the Genealogy of Christ we see 4 gentiles included in the blood line – proving that God ALWAYS included the gentiles. It is a 2 part plan: His people and all people. Just because the majority rejected Him then, doesn’t mean we can just erase the Jews and replace that word with the church.  No! We are adopted into the family of the chosen people – we do not gentrify the Old Testament.  Now, for ease of understanding and application to modern believers, many teachers including myself have swapped the Israelites for the church in certain lessons. It is messy and not the most clean way to explain it and I am sorry, because I have done it. Someone said we should just use the word believer – but in most of the time in which I have done it both the Israelites in the passage and the modern church who I speak to are actually not believing!  The book of Matthew is written in a way that addresses this, as it was a stumbling block as their world fell apart (this was their 9-11 catastrophe) and their Messiah did not come as a warring Politian as they hoped and thought they needed. Matthew makes it clear and inclusive and proves by prophesy that Jesus is the Messiah. I am not as eloquent as Matthew – I will continue to try to improve.

Let me introduce you to Mark. Believed to be John Mark – who homed one of the original house churches in Jerusalem who was a teen or maybe even a tween during Jesus’s ministry and is believed to have been in the crowd that followed Jesus. Mark is called “my beloved son” by Peter. Mark was Barnabas’s cousin and Paul authorized him to join them on their first missions trip.  Mark wrote the book to gentiles (based on the fact that he was in Rome and had to explain Jewish things).  So believe it was written in the 50’s other in the early to mid 60’s.  It is believed to be the first written account of the life and Ministry of Jesus that was published. 1/3 of the book is about the weeks in Jerusalem and Jesus’s death – presumably because Mark had witnessed it whereas much of the rest were the account from Peter. Mark’s purpose of writing was to tell the Good News of Christ and make disciples – To evangelize. Mark also hones in on Jesus’s alone time with the Father – 20 times he says it.  We know it was critical to Jesus’s ministry and to modern ministries. Often believers forget it is also critical for each of our own personal walks with the Lord as well.

Mathew focuses on fulfilled prophesy and words of Jesus, to prove Jesus to the Jew – Mark focuses on the actions and works of Jesus, to make new converts – as he said to follow Jesus 17 times in his short book.  

Now, let’s talk about John the Baptist.  I wish I could relate to this wild character.  In all of his strange ways – He had order, power authority and freedom.  In our world we are much too encumbered with modern living to be such a free person.  I always fantasized about when my son left – selling everything, buying a conversion sleeper van and driving away… just going, letting provisions come as they may. Now, my son has left and I am still here.  Where would I go anyway? But John was compelled by the spirit – not by some fantasy of being unencumbered.   

However – He and I share the same message: Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

This morning in prayer I had such heavy sadness and fear for the lost (not the spirit of fear – but a reckoning of the horrific consequences of their lack of faith) – as I had a moment where I looked into the reality of all that is truly happening and understood how very very very ate in the season we already are. And as I looked deep into this exposed opening I asked God, how long until grace runs out? How much time is there? I started to get anxious and felt such urgency – and a piece of paper blew off the table and startled my dog. She panicked as it was unexpected and she probably sensed my anxious urgency. I tapped her to snap her out of it and it escalated her. I picked her up and held her tight and said: “you are safe – you are in my arms and I will not let you be harmed in anyway.”
And realized GOD used it as a parable!!!  I was on the brink of letting the spirit of fear in and God showed me that if I would protect my dog, how much more will HE protect me. I was blessed to tears and apologized for almost letting fear in! I have no reason to fear. But I still feel the urgency and sorrow of the vision.

I would make a terrible John the Baptist! Lol

It reminds me of a dream I had a few nights ago: In it every clock in the world had the wrong time. So the angels had to go around setting the time right everywhere. While one angel corrected the clock another then set it wrong and the next fixed it and they fought at each clock – all over the globe.  The time is NOW for God’s move, the time is NOW for us to wake up, repent and get humble, the time is NOW for God’s new thing, the time is NOW for signs and wonders, and mostly the time is now for hearts to be soften and transformed!
And the enemy keeps trying to change the clocks to deceive us – keep us in the dark and afraid of how very late it is. To push their agenda and timeline. To perpetuate confusion and destruction. But the time is NOW for us to be like John and proclaim repentance and the good news of Jesus. That through Him we can have a relationship with our father.  And if we do not already have a relationship then we should consider developing one. The hour is late – do not miss the boat!

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! These memory verses were selected, last year for this year.  As many of you tell me of the great attacks on your lives – the timing is perfect! But of course it is, it is God!

Deuteronomy 28:7

NKJV – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
NAS – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated by you; they will go out against you one way and will flee at your presence seven ways.”
ESV – “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
AMP – “The LORD will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways.”
NIV – “The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3 NKJV

Matthew 3

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’ ”

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 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.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [a]and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John Baptizes Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [b]He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 3:11 M omits and fire
  2. Matthew 3:16 Or he

Mark 1

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in [a]the Prophets:

“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.”
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’ ”

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance [b]for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John Baptizes Jesus

It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up [c]from the water, He saw the heavens [d]parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Satan Tempts Jesus

12 Immediately the Spirit [e]drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel [f]of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [g]is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.

Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Spirit

21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, [h]“Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, [i]“What is this? What new [j]doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed

29 Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. 31 So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.

Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset

32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Preaching in Galilee

35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a [k]solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”

38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”

39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”

41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.

Footnotes

  1. Mark 1:2 NU Isaiah the prophet
  2. Mark 1:4 Or because of forgiveness
  3. Mark 1:10 NU out of
  4. Mark 1:10 torn open
  5. Mark 1:12 sent Him out
  6. Mark 1:14 NU omits of the kingdom
  7. Mark 1:15 has drawn near
  8. Mark 1:25 Lit. Be muzzled
  9. Mark 1:27 NU What is this? A new doctrine with authority! He
  10. Mark 1:27 teaching
  11. Mark 1:35 deserted

Luke 3

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

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, [a]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.’ ”

John Preaches to the People

Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood[b] of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”

11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”

12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”

13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”

14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”

So he said to them, “Do not [c]intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”

15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18 And with many other exhortations he preached to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his [d]brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.

John Baptizes Jesus

21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, 27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 3:2 NU, M in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas
  2. Luke 3:7 Offspring
  3. Luke 3:14 Lit. shake down for money
  4. Luke 3:19 NU brother’s wife

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s