Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Preaching in the Wilderness
Matt 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
If a person were going to start preaching, normally, they'd find a crowd, set up their soap box and get with it. We generally preach in churches but there are those street corner preachers who find a busy spot downtown to proclaim the Word.
But John preached in the wilderness! The Essenes, who lived in a community near the Dead Sea were probably the first ones to hear him as he preached near the Jordan so he could baptize the converts. The crowds grew as word got out about his passion and his message, and eventually all of Jerusalem came out to hear him.
Soldiers, government types, the religious crowd and the common people were among John's audience who heard that they needed to repent for the kingdom was at hand.
He preached and they came to hear and see this country preacher, dressed in camel's hair and a leather girdle who ate locusts and wild honey.
The old time preacher said, "Build a fire in the pulpit and people will come to watch it burn."
And burn, John did. He burned with a passion for souls to repent and come to the Lord. His sermons were, "More of God, less of me," "The axe is laid to the root of the trees," "Do right," "Bring forth fruits meet for repentance," and "Behold the Lamb!"
God, give us some preachers who are concerned more with souls being saved than tip-toeing through the tithers! Preachers who are willing to go wherever you lead to preach the message you inspire to win the sinners you draw to yourself.