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February 27, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’—‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’”—Mark 1:2–8 (NIV)
Have you ever seen someone standing on the side of a busy street with a huge sign shaped like an arrow doing, or attempting to do, tricks and flips with the sign in an effort to get people’s attention on the store they are promoting? If you surprisingly have not, then hopefully you can picture it now! These people can often look and feel ridiculous, but their main goal is to point people to a store instead of themselves.
When I thought about today’s Scripture, this picture immediately came to my mind because John the Baptist resembles such a person in many ways! The first two verses of today’s passage quote Isaiah 40, where John the Baptist is prophesied about. John was the messenger sent ahead of the Messiah to prepare the way for the Lord and make straight paths for Him (Isaiah 40:3). Mark goes on to describe John’s ministry and way of life which is clearly one of boldness and societal nonconformity. However, he used his different way of life to further point to Christ just like someone on the side of the road embraces their awkwardness and differences to do their job!
The beauty of studying and knowing John the Baptist’s life and role is not only because it points us to Jesus, but it also provides us an example for how we should live our lives! John fully committed himself to the mission of directing the world’s attention to the Messiah, and we have also been commissioned to lead others to Christ!
John submitted humbly to the calling of God in his life, and we have been humbled by the grace of God which grants us a similar calling to that of John’s. God had chosen and planned John’s life before he was born, and He has done the same for us as well! John also unashamedly embraced who God made him to be, quirks and all, while still living an honorable and obedient life which is exactly what God desires for each of us!
As we look at the example of John the Baptist today, may we be encouraged and inspired to live boldly for Christ and point others to Him in all that we do because it is truly an honor and a privilege that we can do so!
PAUSE: How can you take on some of the disciplines seen in John the Baptist that you may be lacking in? Perhaps it is confidence, faith, boldness, or obedience?
PRACTICE: Whatever area you may be struggling with, take a step to overcome it today. Fill your mind with truths from God’s Word, be a bold and enthusiastic pointer to Jesus, and declare the gospel in both words and deeds, grace and truth!
PRAY: Father, thank You for giving us so many examples to follow in the Bible such as John the Baptist. I ask that You would strengthen me and humble me to be the kind of “pointer” John was. I want my life to be a flashing and unmistakable arrow to You! I love You Lord! Amen.