John The Baptist
05 January 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist could have been a priest like his father Zechariah and could have had a cushy job serving in the Jerusalem Temple. But John knew he was born to turn the hearts of people back to God, prepare the way for God’s Messiah and Savior. John’s passion drove him to be an outsider from the religious system all his short thirty-year life!
When the farmers and shepherds and craftsmen and tradespeople – ordinary people – heard John’s message to turn from their sins, turn to God, and prepare for living under God’s Kingdom rule, they came to him to be baptized. They confessed their sins and John baptized them into a life as their hearts began facing toward God!
Then some of the religious leaders of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to John and he refused to baptize them. He criticized the Pharisees for their religious legalism and their hypocrisy and he criticized the Sadducees for using their religion to gain political position and power.
What about my religion? What would John the Baptist say to me? Do I preach and profess to believe one thing and live another? Do I think I’m better than other people who don’t live by my religious rules? Do I isolate myself from people I look down on or don’t agree with? Do I try to profit or gain influence or power from my religion?
Father, Please forgive me when I compare myself to others and think I look better for keeping religious rules and regulations. Forgive me when I judge others as unworthy if they don’t think, act, and look like me. Forgive me when I think that I deserve more power or privilege than someone else. I don’t want to be a manipulator! May I always approach you and others with clean hands and a pure heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.