Enter John the Baptist. The one who would come before Christ proclaiming and preparing the way is in the thralls of his ministry paving a path for the people to receive the message of the coming Messiah. The wheels had already been set in motion and in fact where already established before the foundation of the world. For the people of this day, preparation for the coming Messiah was essential. The path would be prepared for Jesus to come and turn the system on its head. The old covenant would be completed and the new covenant would become firmly established. The only matter was for those who held to the faith to repent of their sins and be baptized into the new way of life.
“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
– Luke 3:7-9, NIV
John the Baptist speaks with a strength and faith that surpasses even the strongest of the Pharisees and religious leaders of his time. He wastes no time and directly piercing the heart with his strong rhetoric and direct preaching. He calls the religious leaders a brood of vipers for failing to see the story of faith unfolding right before them. As difficult as this may have been, John was able to speak with clarity and boldness as one who spoke empowered by the faith in Jesus Christ.
A Faith Worth Living Out
We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, that is absolutely sure. Yet it is our faith in the eternal and saving grace of God that guides and directs our very steps towards a new life. With the coming of the Messiah, we are transferred and renewed. Our old life is put to death and our new life awakens from the depths of our spirit and soul. An encounter with the One, True God will not leave a person unchanged but their very core is altered. For those who carry the faith, every encounter we have with God guides and directs us to be more like Him.
Simply put, our faith is a faith worth living out. The message of John the Baptist to the outlook’s was a message of repentance and forgiveness. Those who followed were baptized into this new life and committed to living out their faith. While the things John proclaimed seemed “radical” they were merely the true expressions intended for the true expression of our life. He addresses greed, lying, and extortion. Even though for people in their various professions, these things were normal, almost expected, the standard was different. Those who follow the faith adhere to a high standard of living from our renewed and redeemed life the comes from Jesus Christ simply because our faith is worth living out.
Boldly Stand Strong In Your Faith
For John The Baptist, the ministry that God had entrusted to John would be a difficult road. He was sent to proclaim, to prepare, and to speak out against the world. For John, this included speaking out against the ruler Herod and his choices in taking his brother’s wife as his own. Yet there were consequences of John being faithful to his calling. Based on John’s public speaking out against Herod, there would be consequences that would ultimately lead to the death of John the Baptist. Yet he faithfully proclaimed the message that God has laid out for Him.
Faith requires us to stand boldly understanding the authority we have been given. Just as following God involved a “radical” way of living that was not really radical at all, living out our God given mission takes a boldness that comes from a God who has already achieved our victory. We are not taking a risk but rather boldly standing in a guaranteed victory. Whatever the consequences of following God may be, we can stand boldly knowing that we are following Christ into a victorious eternity.