For 400 years, Israel had been spiritually barren. They hadn’t heard a word from the Lord during that time. Then along comes a man dressed in camel hair, eating locust, and preaching repentance. You would think the people would’ve run from him, but the opposite happened. They were so desperate to hear from God that they traveled great distances to hear him. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus to come.
“John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Prepared the Way
John the Baptist tells everyone what to expect from the coming Messiah. John brought repentance back to Israel through his preaching and water baptism. It was a symbol of dying to the old life and being brought into a new one. Jesus was coming with a different baptism that would empower all of us to live for Him. John was the one who prepared the way for God’s plan of redemption.
John’s humility in all of this is remarkable. He has large crowds traveling a long distance for him to preach and baptize them. He could’ve easily got caught up in all the hype, but he never lost focus on his mission. When he says, “I am not unfit to untie the thong of His sandal,” he is stooping to the lowest position in that culture. He knew that once Jesus was on stage that he must decrease so that Christ could increase.
The Power Behind it
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost for the early church. The fire fell from heaven, and that small group changed the world. Don’t try to work for Jesus without the power of the Holy Spirit in you. He guides us and keeps us humble so that we don’t trip over our good intentions. Take a page out of John the Baptist’s book and be the one who prepares the way for salvation.