A Call for revival by John the Baptist – John 3:1-12
Introduction and Story: The presence of God is sensed and felt in unusual places when we don’t even expect it. Philip Yancey in his book on Prayer: Does it make any difference? Shared a story of extraordinary sense of God’s presence in Nepal. He visited ‘Green Pasture Hospital in Nepal’ where the Doctors and Nurses cared for Leprosy patients. Philip saw a poor lady who was deformed by the leprosy so badly that he thought she was just a beggar. As Philip and his wife were visiting the hospital, this lady crawled to follow them. Philip’s wife gave a hug to this lady. This poor Nepali lady was a Christian. She began to sing in her language: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tell me so.” The tune of this song was recognised by Philip and his wife, that they could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in her weak body. The light and love of Jesus was shining through her.
John the Baptist may not look very attractive in human standard but the presence of God the Holy Spirit was so evident in his life, his look and in his voice that people flocked to see and listen to him from whole Jerusalem, all Judea and the whole region of Jordan, confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan river. A community of people were prepared to welcome the coming Messiah Jesus Christ. The time for revival is near! The Kingdom of God is near!
Few people know that John came from a Levite, a priestly background. This special tribe of Levite was set aside by God to serve in the temple. John was the son of Zechariah, a temple priest of the lineage of Abijah, while John’s mother Elizabeth was from the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:5). John was also related to Jesus as their mothers were cousins (Luke 1:36). John lived a simple life as he focused on the kingdom work set before him. Revival came by just one man John the Baptiser. He was the cousin of Jesus. He was a miracle child as his parents had no hope of having a child. Zachariah the priest and his wife Elizabeth were very old.
The message of John was simple. It was simply, Repent. This is no mere academic change of mind, nor mere regret or remorse. John the Baptist spoke of repentance as a radical turning from sin that certainly became manifest in the fruit of righteousness. The biblical and Greek meaning of repentance as ‘Metanoa’ means more than sorry feeling. It is a change of mind, change of life and action for a total change of life. Repentance is also not just one time affair. We need to repent regularly and transform every day of our lives. To call for a changed life, John asked to repent and take Baptism in the river and bring fruit of the changed lives.
It was a prophetic ministry. John had a total dedication to prepare God’s people for the coming of Jesus. He was like the modern day ‘Evangelist’ who proclaimed the good news of Jesus boldly. He is our role model to share about Jesus to people personally or publicly. He even rebuked religious leaders like Pharisees and Sadducees for not living for God. He even called them, “Brood of vipers’’ and told them that if they want to repent to be baptised here, they must continue to live for God. Their lives must show the fruit of their changed lives.
Conclusion and application
This should be the desire of our lives. We must give all the glory to God in whatever we do for the Lord including preaching, worshipping, serving or sharing the good news of Jesus. I believe, God has chosen you and me like the John the Baptist to prepare the way for the people to welcome the King of kings and the Lord of lords in their hearts. They will become God’s precious people through repentance (change of lives and action to live for God and his glory), and Baptism of water and the Holy Spirit. They will be people to serve their God through an awesome praise, worship, witness and work.