In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:1-2)
There had not been a real prophet in Israel for centuries. The Roman eagle flew over everything, and such religion as there was had become dessicated and lifeless. And then this wild man from the desert arrived! John the Baptist bore the stamp of true God-given originality, with:
1. ONE THING TO DO
For all of thirty years he had been preparing in a desert existence for this one task – to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3 – to ‘prepare the way for the Lord.’ As the fiery announcer of Jesus, people had heard nothing like this for centuries, and they flocked to hear him.
2. ONE THING TO SAY
There it was – “Repent!” Here lay the true authority of a prophet. John had no need to stump the length and breadth of the country. People came out to HIM in the desert. And repentance isn’t simply feeling sorry. The big question is “Do you intend to stop doing it? If so, you’ve repented!”
3. ONE PERSON TO PROMOTE
“Yes,” says John. “I baptise you with water – but I’m not the important one!” The coming One, he said, will baptise you with the reality, of which the water could only be symbolical.
Learn from this Jesus-centred individual. Men and women with such a focus have the ability to stir great numbers of people.