by Duane Maust
December 16, 2007
Mark 1: 1-8
Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near. This is one of those sermons that got in my head and would not let me go. I know Mike talked about John the Baptist last Sunday but this has been in my heart all week. I guess it just really came clear to me how much John the Baptist or Baptizer helped people find Jesus. Jesus was John’s cousin. All John’s job was to do was point people to Jesus. That can be our jobs today. We can point people to Jesus. We can help people be ready to meet Jesus. Whether it is by death or Second Coming. We can prepare people for that great happening.
I thought about doing this sermon in the first person. I thought about appearing as if I was John and give a word from that perspective. I did not know where I could get camel hair to wear. I could find a leather belt. I was not ready to eat locusts for you all today. I would not have minded the honey. So here I am just going to tell you the story of John. If John was living in the world today, where do you suppose he would live? What would he look like? Maybe this is why he intrigues me. He would be a colorful fellow.
Let’s look at his mom and dad. They were both described as being “righteous before God.” His parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah was a priest in the temple. Elaine told about Elizabeth in the children’s story. Elizabeth was an old lady, too old to have a baby. I tried to find how old? All I could find was old. So you can decide for yourself if you want to. I will guess she was at least fifty. This old lady was a lot of support to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary “chilled out” with Elizabeth for three months while they were both pregnant. The house was quiet till Mary got there because Zechariah was silenced because he did not believe the angel that told him he and his wife were going to have a baby. (read in Luke 1)
Can you be called righteous before God like Zechariah and Elizabeth?
Let me read you the story of John getting his name. Read Luke 1: 62-67
We don’t know much about John the Baptist early childhood. Read vs 80
When he started his ministry, he sure attracted the people.
The O.T. Prophesied about John
Read Mark 1:2-3 and Isa. 40:3 (words from the prophet Isaiah)
Here John is out in the desert preaching to all these people coming out of the cities to hear him. They are making decisions toward the Lord. They are confessing their sins. John the Baptizer was getting the people ready to receive Jesus. Luke says some harsh words that John was saying.
Tell Luke 3:7-9 ( You deceiving snakes! Who warned you to come here to escape God’s coming judgment? It is not being born in a Mennonite family that will save you.)
Read vs 10-11 We should share our extra clothes and food.
Vs 12 even tax collectors were making their way out there (they still are not a popular group today. They added their own commission.)
Like John is telling the soldiers and tax collectors not to collect extra money, we should not get money hungry. Don’t cheat money from anyone.
The religious leaders were coming out to see what was happening.
Then John goes on to say this in Mark also.
Read Mark 1: 7-8
Here John’s job is to introduce Jesus. Look at what he does. He does not tell this long pedigree. He doesn’t tell about having this degree and is experienced in this and that. Instead he starts helping people be baptized and be saved from their sin. That is the way John points the crowd of people to Jesus. There would have been a lot John could have said about his cousin.
Now, if John were here today, what would he be saying to us? He would be preparing us for Jesus’ second coming.
What would he need to challenge us on?
Would there be bad things in our lives that need to be confessed and in need of forgiveness?
Would John be telling us that we need to share our riches, share our things with the needy by us?
Would we just think he is some goofy guy that was a little off?
John has some good words for us today.
Read Matt. 3: 2 for closing