Journey Through the Book of Matthew
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! 3 For this he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Makes His paths straight.” 4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his good was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
Israel, had long waited for the coming of the Messiah. Among those was Zacharias, a priest, and his wife Elisabeth. Both were righteous before God, and in their quiet and holy lives the light of faith shone out like a star amid the darkness in those evil days. It was to this godly pair that the promise was given of a son who should go before the face of the Lord to prepare His way.
God always send a messenger ahead to prepare the way. Abraham was sent of God to introduce God’s message to the heathen Canaanites. When there number was but 70 people, God prepared Egypt to receive Jacob and his sons and their families. He did this through Joseph, whom his brothers sold into slavery.
When King David went from place to place among the nation of Israel, a running always proceeded him to inform the people, so they would be ready to receive their king. When Jesus was born, he worked upon the hearts of the people by the messages of the shepherds, Simeon, Anna and the wise men.
Now as Jesus was to begin his earthly ministry, he sent John before him to prepare the hearts of the people to receive their king. John was the cousin of Jesus. The story is outlined in the gospel written by Luke the author, historian and doctor. (see Luke 1:36)
The prophet Isaiah prophesied 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low: The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth. 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 40:3-5
From the wilderness came the voice calling the people to repentance. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The hearts of many were moved. Great crowds heard the message and were baptized by John in the River Jordan. They confessed their sins and awaited the coming King expecting the King to set up a kingdom hear on earth.
No great riches did John seek for himself. A simple life style was his. Clothed in the simplest of dress with a simple diet John preached with conviction proclaiming the good news of the soon coming Messiah.
Then hearing of John and his message, Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the areas around came to hear John, be baptized in the Jordan and confess their sins. There was change upon the horizon. The hearts of men and women were being awakened, prepared for the soon coming of the Messiah.
But when he saw many of the . . .