In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2 ESV)
Though the birth of Christ was miraculous, much of the world gave it no notice because it occurred in the small town of Bethlehem. But almost three decades later, things begin to change. Since the days of Malachi, God sent no prophet, and though the Messiah was born, 30 years passed with very few people knowing about Him.
But then John appears in the wilderness.
Luke reveals that John is a relative of Jesus who was born to his formerly barren mother, Elizabeth, in her old age. As a man, John became the first prophet to be seen in over 400 years. As with any prophet, John sought to proclaim the Word of God, and his message was similar to the prophets of old but also very different.
First, repentance was the most common prophetic message. The LORD sent prophets to His people as warning sign, begging them to turn away from their sins or suffer the God’s judgment.
Calling people to repentance was normal of a prophet, but John’s proclamation of the kingdom of heaven was not common. In declaring the coming of God’s kingdom, John was preparing the way for the King, the Messiah, to usher in His reign. In this way, John is the fulfillment of Isaiah 40 and Micah 3, which both speak of the messenger who would be the Messiah’s forerunner.
Indeed, John’s entire life was entirely devoted to making Jesus known and seeing Jesus glorified.
Read John’s thought about Jesus and himself in John 3:30, and consider whether his words could also describe your heart. Why or why not?