Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34
As the first prophet in 400 years, since the days of Malachai, John the Baptist is the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the coming of Christ. But how did John get here? Let’s stop a moment and go back to Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, who was old and beyond her childbearing years.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:11-17
Remember cousins Mary and Elizabeth finding out they were both with child at the same time? Elizabeth bears her son first, who is the one who prepares the way for the coming Messiah, to be born of Mary. Coincidence? Not with God. Here John points us to the one who is greater and will fill the world with living water.
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom.The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:27-30
With his baptism of water from John the Baptist, Jesus takes his place as the Son of God, symbolized by the dove coming down from heaven and resting on Christ, and is anointed for ministry.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39
What was prophesied in the Old Testament was fulfilled in John the Baptist, who pointed directly to the One from God who would fill us with living water.
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
I often wonder how many people were put in my path to prepare the way for my faith. How many relatives were true believers who openly lived their faith and helped to prepare the way for me? How many strangers crossed my path with words of truth, many of which I didn’t want to hear?
Print this post by clicking on the green ‘printer friendly’ bar below, and write your answers to these questions.
Question (feel free to journal your answer here) Are you seeking only for yourself or are you helping prepare the way? Do you speak God’s truth and help prepare a way, a straight path, for Christ to enter someone else’s life?
Your prayer (feel free to write your prayer here)
Hoping to make the path a little straighter,
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