Prepare to listen as you light the 2 purple candles. Pray: ‘To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!’ (Psalm 123:1)
Prayerfully Read Matthew 3:1-6
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
John proclaimed that in his ministry the kingdom of heaven had come near. From that lofty thought, Mathew shifts attention to the mundane—John’s strange dress and eating habits. But it put John right up there with the ancient prophets. His clothing makes us think of Elijah (see 1 Kings 1:8) and his message was as urgent as that ancient prophet—prepare the way of the Lord through repentance.
Despite his strangeness and demanding message, people flocked across the Jordan to John, compelled to confess their sins and signify their confession in John’s baptism. We don’t know what compelled them or what words John used. We only know people came out to where John was, an isolated wilderness area and were baptized.
Today we, as followers of Jesus, are God’s messengers sent to prepare the way for Jesus. People are still in need of confession and forgiveness. We’re not called to copy John’s strange ways. We are called to be involved in the awesome task of bringing the kingdom of God near through our message in both word and deed.
In what ways could you bring the kingdom of God near to those you meet today?
Respond to Jesus
I know I’m not a John the Baptizer, but I also know, O Christ, that through your Spirit in me I can live in such a way that your kingdom comes nearer to the world. Keep me alert to this all day today. In your name I pray, Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, a messenger of the kingdom.