Easter Devotional – February 24

Matthew 3:1-12

The Preaching of John the Baptist

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!’”

Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10 The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

As we continue on our journey, more than 25 years later, we meet up with John the Baptist…also prophesied about in the Old Testament, who happens to be Jesus’ cousin. The cousin of the Messiah! Can you even imagine!?! And John, while being the greatest man who ever lived, talks about “the” Messiah as, “Someone much more powerful, more worthy…and He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” John the Baptist came saying “REPENT!…the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”…prepare the way – remove the obstacles, get ready to meet the Messiah.

And this is what some people are doing, they are coming to John to repent and be baptized.

Others, however, (the Pharisees and Sadducees) are not. And to them he gives a warning – you can’t rely on your family for your faith – you may be Abraham’s children, but you need to personally repent, for YOU are personally responsible to bear good fruit!

What?!?

They thought they were shoe-ins because of Dad, but it is only by faith in Jesus, the Messiah.

How are you preparing your heart, your life, for the coming Messiah? Have you relied on your parents’ faith or have you personally repented and given your heart over to Jesus? Take some time to take stock of your heart, your faith.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for being powerful and completely worthy. Show me what it means to completely rely on You.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

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