1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 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. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 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. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.
I wonder what made John the Baptist so compelling, maybe it was two-fold. John emphasised a need to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (verses 4 & 5). It feels like the people knew they were not right with God and responded to John’s call to repentance. Secondly, John presented the way of salvation ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him’ (verse 3). He seems to suggest that after repentance, a change of lifestyle, comes a definite decision to highlight God’s salvation plan through Jesus Christ.
Maybe that’s the way forward for us in this current climate, to do the best we can as we PRODUCE fruit in keeping with repentance and PRESENT the way of salvation (Just in case you are craving a 3 point sermon we notice that John was an effective witness because he PREPARED in the desert, away from distraction in a simple lifestyle not desiring the best of clothing, a big mansion, or craving mans approval. He simply said it as it is, and some responded by accepting his call and others rejected his message.
It is right and proper we should look forward to be able to meet together on Sundays, but it is also important that we Produce and Present Christian behaviour during the week as we share our lives with our families and friends.