#DailyDevotion John The Baptist Is Elijah
Matt. 3 The time came when John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness of Judea and preached: 2“Repent – the kingdom of heaven is near.” He was the one of whom it was said through the prophet Isaiah: A voice will be calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord; make the paths straight for Him.” 4John wore clothes of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist. And he lived on locusts and wild honey. 5Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole Jordan valley came out to him. 6As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
The time came when John the Baptizer preaching repentance. The time, that days that were promised had come to passed. The days promised through the prophet Isaiah and the prophet Malachi. He was preaching in the wilderness, calling Israel back to the wilderness. He was baptizing them in the Jordan to become Israelites again. You remember, when the LORD gathered his people from Egypt, he brought them through the wilderness and they entered the Promised Land by being baptized in the Jordan as they were in the Red Sea, passing through both on dry land with the water on either side of them.
If the Jews wanted to continue to be Israelites they had to be baptized into a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Even as Israel and Judah has lost their way in the past, Judah again was lost, though it was not evident for they had much of the trappings of the Law of Moses, they had no ‘pagan idols’ but their hearts were far from God and the heart of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. John was fulfilling the prophets word preparing the way for the LORD Jesus Christ. He was preparing them to receive Jesus as their Messiah.
He is the fulfillment of the return of Elijah. He wore Elijah’s garments. (2 Kings 1:8) He doing what Elijah is called to do, bring the hearts of people back to the fathers. So his message is “Repent – the kingdom of heaven is near.” Yes, be repentant and be repentant right now! Do not wait. The Greek here suggest a sense of urgency. Why is it so urgent? The kingdom of heaven is near. That is the reign and rule of God the LORD has come. That sense of urgency is even more so today as the day draws quickly near. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. This is how the LORD receives you as an Israelite. You want to claim God as your Father, you must be baptized as your parents were when they passed through the Red Sea and the Jordan River.
John was baptizing them. When they were baptized they confessed their sins to John. They were confessing their sins because by being baptized their sins were being forgiven them. As Luke records it, “Repent and be baptized to have your sins forgiven.” We too, like the Jews who went out to John are to be baptized and be repentant of our sins. We confess them because they are no longer to have a hold on us. We receive baptism and are joined to Israel in Christ Jesus. God’s kingdom has come to us in Christ and we are made a part of it having been baptized. For there God puts his name on us and claims us as his own. We are no longer under the reign and rule of Satan but under the Son whom the Father loves. We are to confess our sins to one another and turn from them and to turn to the Son for whose sake our sins are forgiven us.
Heavenly Father, you call us to be your own people and children through the repentant waters of baptism joining us to your Son Jesus Christ. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may walk repentant lives devoted to do your will. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.