John had clothing made of camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted of grasshoppers and wild honey. 5 Then the people of Jerusalem, all Judea, and the entire region along the Jordan began flocking to him, 6 being baptized by him in the Jordan River while they confessed their sins. 7 But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he told them, “You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit that is consistent with repentance!
While studying and conducting my exegesis of this piece of scripture, many examples on how John the Baptist lived his life and how he reached so many people came to mind. During John’s ministry, the Pharisees and Sadducees were the two main religious leaders. The Pharisees were mostly religious minded and the Sadducees focused more towards political matters. However, both religious leaders did not live up to the expectations they were putting on the people. Sadly enough this is a problem that continues to happen even in 2017. The people needed a breath of fresh air and to them John the Baptist was it just like we can influence others today.
Since John the Baptist was so different, he brought in crowds of people from all over to hear him preach. He was not selfish nor greedy like the other religious leaders. His primary focus was to praise the Lord and separate himself from sin and corruption. John did not just preach God’s law, but lived it every day and people could see that in him.
When reviewing this scripture, John must have presented a strange image to the people. From wearing clothes woven from camel hair and wore a leather belt to eating raw honey and locusts. People must’ve been very intrigued. In fact he was so different that he brought crowds of people reaching from Jerusalem, the Jordan, and even Judea just to hear him speak. I am sure that many came because of pure curiosity, but stayed because he spoke the truth and was committed to the Lord. The message of his ministry was simple and straight to the point. His message was to repent from their sins and commit themselves again to the Lord. John did not care about what people thought of him since he was doing God’s work here on earth. He was paving the way for one far more greater than him, the Messiah.
When John baptised the people who repented from their sins, he was showing the symbolism of an outward change in their hearts. He did this because when you are dirty and take a shower with water and soap, the dirt comes off and you can immediately see the change of a person from dirty to clean. But this is much harder in matters of the heart. How can you show others that you have changed your heart and turned away from sin and are now dedicating yourself back to the Lord? That is the importance of the symbolism of baptism. You get to express your dedication not only for yourself but for others to see it, guide you and hold one another accountable for that life time commitment you are taking.
I have learned a lot of practical knowledge from this scripture that I want to share with everyone. The first and most important message is to practice what you preach. Can people discover God by your actions and the way you live your life? If that answer is no, than you are no different from the Pharisees and Sadducees and you need to reflect upon your life and make a positive change. Being a Christian means being different. Like John, people will come out of curiosity to see what makes you different and loving. This is an amazing conversation starter because it allows you to tell others what you believe in and how it makes you live your life differently. Your personal testimony is the most powerful message you can ever give someone else. How God worked in your life and made it better.
Another lesson to be learned is that John only spoke the truth of God’s word. If you do not know something, don’t just make something up that sounds right or try to paraphrase to the best of your ability. Open the scriptures and read them and make sure you are speaking the truth. This gives you the opportunity to spiritually feed those seeking answers and teach them how to find their own answers in the scriptures. Since there is no greater truth than the word of God, people need to learn it in a way that is not overwhelming. So be a mentor and live your life by example for other to emulate. These are great lessons to be learned from John.
I pray this lesson helps someone today and please have a blessed day. God bless you all!