All Things New

Much like his the prophet Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8~They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.” (NIV) John’s unusual attire emphasizes the striking difference between him and Jerusalem’s religious leaders, who donned themselves in expensive, flowing robes. Rather John lived simply and his diet was quite reflective of this, consisting of locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4) For those who are not as well versed in lifestyles of the rich and famous, a locust is a grasshopper, not robed in chocolate, rather a migrating insect who swarms, stripping vegetation from large areas. It’s considered by Jews to be clean or kosher (fit to be eaten according to the Jewish dietary laws of Leviticus 11:22~Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. (NIV) For the foodie, these delectable beauties come in a wide assortment for varied palates. And the wild honey was common in the desert, often found in a rock cleft or tree.

John’s lifestyle was like a brandished flag high atop its wilderness outpost in an open field, it beckoned to all that He lived dramatically divergent with the culture of his day, for the cause of Christ. The people who were drawn in, came from Jerusalem, all over Judea and farther to witness the spectacle, to hear the words of life and to be submerged in the hope of redemption. A message of repentance as they confess their sins, and were baptized in the Jordan River (3:5-6). The word confess (ἐξομολογέω exomologeō) means to agree fully to acknowledge openly and joyful. Yes, Lord, I agree, the You and the Bible were right about sin.

So in this scene, we witness people coming as James said, then they confess their sins, and are baptized, an outward sign of their new inward condition. (βαπτίζω baptizō) to dip or immerse as a sign of our willingness to turn to God and live raised to walk in the newness of life. Paul explains that in baptism we are buried with Christ into death Romans 6:4~We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (NIV) Like a wedding ring, baptism is a symbol of love and commitment. It means we love Jesus Christ and have committed our lives to Him. You don’t have to be baptized to go to heaven, but who would not want to be baptized since it is the clear command of Scripture? To prepare the way we all need to admit our need for repentance. Is there an area in your life which you need to surrender or refocus today? Why not take time to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow the Lord to have His way in your life.

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