Habakkuk 3: 17-18- “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.” Because I rejoice in him, if everything else should go wrong, still I can be content.
George Muller said that “It is essential for joy in the lord continue that the scriptures be read regularly.” We began this year with an encouragement to be in the Word.
Q. How are we doing with the word? Maybe you are in the need of a reset.
Mark 1:1-8: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way. A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.””
When we read this passage, we might be thinking, there is so much weird stuff here- Eating honey and bugs and wearing camel hair in the heat. A lot of those seemingly weird details are actually incredibly valuable. They are not random at all. Things that would be obvious to the original audience would really make sense.
Q. John the Baptist- what's his deal? Eating bugs in the desert, etc.
When it comes to his clothes:
2 Kings1:8- Elijah the Tishbite wore similar stuff. Mark includes the details of the dress of John the Baptist, it is a big deal. People recognized him by his clothes. He was a prophet.
Matt 11:7-10. People saw the clothes and knew that he was a prophet.
Q. What was John proclaiming?
They see him, they know who he is, they go into the wilderness and get baptised.
Q. Why the wilderness?
John in the wilderness. A voice crying in the Wilderness.
Isaiah 9:1 speaks about wilderness- Why are these places blessed?
Ezekiel 36:24 also refers to the same place. The people during the time of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah were rebellious. The first places that fell to invasion were Galilee.
God makes us a promise during this time that after a time of discipline I will bring you back into fellowship.
Q. How was he going to come? The same way the conquering army came, to redeem his people. Then John appears in the very spot that God spoke of. Proclaiming make the path straight. What's that about? The prophesy itself is difficult to understand.
Every culture has phrases that are understood in context. The first part of the prophesy is given by John. People are supposed to understand what he is referring to.
Isaiah 40:9- 28 This is who is being proclaimed and whose path is being made straight in the wilderness. That's why people were being baptized for repentance of their sins. The knowledge of God that they have from Isaiah propels them to know his greatness.
Now we see that's it's from the very beginning that it's the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is so good? It is the that the very God we just saw is coming to take his redeemed. His power is limitless
Prepare the way of the Lord- A prophet after 400 years is proclaiming. All these weird details fall into place as we labour to understand the Bigness of the God who is coming.
Mark 1:7- After me comes one who is mightier the strap of his footwear
Q. Why is he talking about sandals?
It is a way of showing respect for sure, but it also means that he is coming as a man. The very God who accounts the nations as nothing is coming as a man to redeem his people and has come and has redeemed. And he didn't leave us alone. He filled is with His Spirit and His Word and that we might continue on in the path.
We were challenged at the beginning of the year to stay in the Word. We know its power and its beauty.
Isaiah 40: 6-8: " A voice says, “Cry out." And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass,he grass withers and the flowers fall, The grass withers and the flowers fall, b"
If you need to do-over, this is the day to do it. If you want to dwell with him, you don’t have to wait. You can do it right now. The Word of the Lord will stand forever.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.