The Voice in the Wilderness!!!
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, 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.’”……………… So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?” 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.” Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”….. Luke 3:1-6,….10-14
In our last study, we were considering How Jesus knew so much in the Scriptures at the age of twelve despite the Difficult circumstances that surrounds Him. We saw How Jesus submitted to His imperfect Parents which led to His increase in wisdom and Favour with God and Men. Today, we shall consider the Ministry of John the Baptist and How the Word of God located Him in the Wilderness. Please Note that the doted line(………) shows that those portion has been fully covered when we were considering the Gospel of Matthew.
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, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, THE WORD OF GOD CAME TO JOHN the son of Zacharias IN THE WILDERNESS.: The introduction to the Ministry of John the Baptist is very significant. We can begin to think that All those details given about names is just to identify the Particular time this event took place but it is more than that. The Holy Spirit seeks to deliberately show us something there. The Holy Spirit is trying to show us that these people listed were the greatest Men in Galilee at this particular time. The Greatest Men in government were, Pontius Pilate, Herod, his brother Philip and Lysanias. And the Greatest Men in the Religious system were Annas and Caiaphas the high priests. So what we read here is that the Word of God bypass all the greatest Men of the World and bypass all the greatest Men in the Religious system and came to a Young Man probably 30 years old who was in the Wilderness. A Man who did not go to a Bible school of His days. John the Baptist was a Man Moulded by God in the Wilderness away from the eyes of Men(Luke 1:80).This is exactly how it has happened over the 20 centuries of Church History. God’s Word has bypassed the Greatest Men of the World and religious system and has come to Humble unknown people usually Young People hidden away in the eyes of Men, Moulded in God’s hand and the Word of God has come to such people even today.
There were Many Bible schools in Israel at that time but God’s word did not come to anyone there. It came to a Man in the Wilderness!!! The Wilderness experience is what prepares us to receive God’s Word. Those who do not want to pass through the Wilderness of Life never receives Revelation on God’s Word. Those who want an easy comfortable life here on Earth, the word of God bypasses. If You listen to a Man who has gone through life of difficulties, a life where God trains You with Hunger and thirst. You will discover deep rich content in their words. And God always seek to lead us through the Wilderness experience so that we might be rich spiritually. For Moses to become the Great Leader He became, God took Him through Wilderness Experience to lead Sheep for 40 years(Exodus 3:1). Even for Jesus, it was written that, ” Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.(Matthew 4:1)”. This is God’s method of Training Men He uses. A life full of Wilderness experiences where there seems to be No food or water. Where you face a lot of difficulties and challenges. This is what we need not Bible College or Seminary certificates. Let us therefore be faithful in the Wilderness God leads us to and in due time, the Word of God will bring us to limelight. Nobody heard of John the Baptist until the Word of God located Him where He was. There is no place too far that the Word of God cannot locate us.
And He went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins: Those who have received the True word of God suddenly sees the need to share it and preach it to others around them. If we claim to have received the Word of God and Yet seek not to share and preach it to others, then I doubt if we have received the Word of God. The Word of God makes us a Debtor to others. Paul said in Romans 1:14-15 saying, ” am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.”
It is also important to notice what John the Baptist preached. John preached Repentance!!! John was a Prophet of God!!! one thing ALL True Prophets always preach is Repentance!!! Repentance is the standard Message of Every Prophet. But it is disappointing that if we look at the preaching in Today’s churches. You will discover that the main element lacking is Repentance. And where it is preached, it is so shallow. This is an indication that the Church is not having the Prophetic ministry that it should have. Majority who calls themselves prophet today are not Prophet. They are more like Magician or Seer to Me. All they seek to do is foretell and tell people about getting rich. They hardly speak of Repentance. And I wonder why a lot of people cannot see the error in such a Ministry.
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 “: The Ministry of John the Baptist was to fulfill the Scriptures and also our Ministry must be to fulfill the plan and purpose of God for our lives. And it is interesting to note that John the Baptist was called, “The Voice of one in the Wilderness”. This is another mark of a True prophet of God. A True Prophet does not want even his face or name to be known. It is enough if people hear His voice. We must have no interest in our name or publicity. John did not have an advertising campaign to proclaim His Word. He did not go around pasting His posters all across the city Yet we read that people all around Jerusalem and Judea went to listen to Him(Matt 3:5). This is exactly how it is even today. When God raises up a Man, He gives Him audience. If it is the Lord that sends you, He will definitely gather the people to You. It is because people are not content to be voices but want their names to be known like great Men in the World that they do not have a Prophetic Word from God. How what was John preaching? He was preaching, “Prepare the Way of the Lord”. It is our responsibility to to prepare a way for the Lord to come into our lives, home and into our Church. We are to prepare our heart to welcome the Lord. Our Heart must be a place where the Lord is comfortable to dwell. We must prepare the Way for Him. We must take away everything thing that Displeases Him. We are to, “Make His path straight”. There is a lot of Crookedness in our lives and family lives. We must make it straight. The Lord will not come by crooked path. He will not come by paths that are unrighteous. The Path of the Lord is a Pathway of Righteousness. Make it straight that He may pass in Your Life!!!
Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth: There are valleys in our lives. Valleys of depression, discouragement and gloom and feeling rotten and good for nothing. And all those valleys needs to be filled up. For there is no place for that in God’s kingdom. Do you know that there is no place for depression and gloom in God’s Kingdom? All those discouragement and bitterness needs to be filled up. Depression and discouragement are marks of unbelief. It is a Man saying, “God is not on the Throne”. There is no place for depression in a Man of Faith. A Man of faith believes that, “God is working everything out for His good(Romans 8:28)”. If only we believe this one Promise, then we should be the Happiest people on Earth. We will see Reasons to give thanks for Everything. We will see reasons why we should Love our enemies and pray for them instead of wishing them evil and death. But because Christians don’t believe in Romans 8:28, they have many complains and grumbling against the Lord and others.
In the same way, Every mountain of pride and arrogance must be brought low. There are lots of mountains of boastfulness in the Lives of Christians that needs to be demolished and brought Low. Mountains of thinking we are superior than other believers. Every mountain that seeks to exalt Itself in our lives must be brought Low. The valleys needs to filled up while the Mountains needs to be brought low. Also, there are lot of rough ways in our lives. Roughness of speech towards one another. Rough relationship between Husband and wife needs to be straightened out.
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’: When every Valley of depression and discouragement is filled up and every mountain of pride and arrogance is brought Low, that is why others will see the Glory and Salvation of God in our lives. People will be able to see the Life of Jesus being Manifested in our Flesh. Others would see what Salvation truly means if we are saved from depression and gloom. This is the message of John the Baptist!!!
So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?: Look at the effect of John the Baptist preaching on the people. Message of Repentance must be backed up with fruits of Repentance. Those who starts their Christian race with the this question, “what shall I do then” usually finish well. When Jesus appeared to Paul on His way to Damascus, Paul said similar words. He said, ” Lord, what do You want me to do?(Acts 9:6)” Let us therefore never be ashamed to ask a Preacher what we are to do when a messages of Repentance is preached to us. Another thing I have discovered is that Most people don’t know what to repent from unless you are specific with them. If you use general Word like, “Repent from Your Sins”. Most people will say, “I Have Repented of My Sins already”. But if you go specific by telling them what actually they are to repent from, they discover that actually they have not Repented. So next time you preach Repentance to someone, tell Him or her what to Repent from. For Example, “Repent from the Way you talk to your Parent. Repent from the improper pattern of dressing that exposes places that should be covered as a lady. Repent from the way you look at women, spend your time and money….. Etc. Be specific!!!
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.” : John was a very practical Preacher. He told the people, if you have really Repented, you will Love your brothers. This is exactly what James said in James 2 that if you say you have faith and do not help a brother who is in need, then your faith is dead. A Repentance that does not bring about a change of attitude to our fellow Believer, then our Repentance is shallow. The evidence of true Repentance is that we seek God’s glory and the good of others.
Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”: Just like Today’s tax collectors, the then tax collectors also cheats and collected money more than they should have. To force people to give us money or cheat people because of the power we have is contrary to the Spirit of Christ. We are commanded to pay our taxes in the New testament to the government but if you are a tax collector, you must ensure that you don’t collect more than what the government says. This is what Repentance does to a soul. Repentance deals with the rooted love of money.
.”Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”: One fruit of Repentance John noted was Contentment. We must never intimidate others and accuse them falsely like Today’s police. Indeed God has a message for all group of people because He was a Man in whom the Word of God has come to. Let us therefore bear Fruits worthy of Repentance.
Dear Friend, The Lord still needs voices in the Wilderness to proclaim His words without fear like John the Baptist. God still need Preachers who will preach Repentance and prepare people for the second coming of the Messiah. God needs Preachers who will be practical in their sermons. Preachers who will challenge you in areas and things you need to Repent from. Blessed is the Man Whom the Lord shall find to speak for Him in these last days. May the Lord give us Grace and and strength of Holy Spirit to apply all we have Learnt in Jesus name. (Amen).God bless you. Have a blessed day.
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