key verse: 8
Thirty years after Jesus' birth, God began his work through John the Baptist. It was a dark time, but God's work is always begun by a forerunner. Let us each become one.
1. Baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins (1-6)
Under the cruel hand of Tiberius in Rome, Pontius Pilate in Judea, Herod in Galilee and others, the people suffered. Yet, for God it was the most favorable moment to begin his work. He sent John the Baptist, son of Zachariah. Isaiah describes him as the voice calling in the desert. Instrumental in the people's salvation, he was a humble and self-sacrificial man. In terms of repentance, there were none like him. He cried aloud, "Repent and be forgiven". It's not that he enjoyed speaking harshly. There was simply no other way for man to be saved. The Word works powerfully and twisted hearts become straight. If we obey and preach the message of repentance, God's powerful work will always be there. This is how we overcome our timidity.
2. Bear fruit of repentance (7-14)
John's message was very heavy with the premonition of judgement. Its contents were about bearing the fruit of life for fear of the falling ax. When John baptised with water, many came to him in spite of his severe words. They each had a serious problem, but to each, John gave the best counsel, and he spoke to all on the problem of selfishness. It's the greatest evil among mortels. John's focus on repentance is invaluable. Repentance is expressed not only by the mouth but also by the results of one's life. Evil is born and grows in a man. The forerunner's role is difficult and delicate because he must attack the seeding and the harvesting of evil. If we do this labor, bad fruit transforms into good fruit for the glory of God.