The Kingdom of heaven began when love broke into this world and Jesus became man, born of a virgin, to live 33 years as a flawless human. Matthew 3: 1-6 Sometimes we struggle identifying with people in the Bible. We read the text like fantasy, simply a fictional novel with imaginary characters that are lacking in real feelings or relatable circumstances. John the Baptist was a man with weird eating habits, and even stranger clothing choices. He wasn't a powerful man... he had no official role or title in the Jewish political system, and yet we know that John the Baptist spoke to thousands of people. His message was simple... "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near." With his mandate clear John the Baptist set out to proclaim the good news, and people responded by confessing their sins and being baptized. Just as the prophet Isaiah declared "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'" (Isaiah 40:3) When Jesus began his earthly ministry he echoed the words of John the Baptist "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 4:17 We know the Kingdom of heaven is near because it is in our hearts... He has arrived and lives inside of us! God has a purpose for all of us, but as Christians we have a unifying mandate that binds us together... to know truth and share truth. As we allow the truth of scripture to transform us, or as John encouraged repentance - to change our mind, others will be drawn to Him. John the Baptist continued to point to someone greater than himself. His call to transformation moved people to action. Excuses... John the Baptist had them. He was weird and didn't fit what a typical leader looked like. He didn't have all of the information... only having the truth of the Old Testament scriptures. He also felt unqualified and insecure at times, especially when Jesus asked to be baptized by him. Nevertheless, John the Baptist continued to live truth and share truth. He loved God and loved others, and as he did this people were drawn to Jesus. You see... we are John the Baptist. We can allow truth to change us through repentance, and as we do people will be drawn to Jesus. Our life has a purpose, and we can reach people others might not be able to reach. If John the Baptist had excuses, he also had a secret weapon - willingness. Decide today to be willing... willing to share truth, to join a group, to pray with someone, to serve on a team, to raise your hands in worship, to invite someone to church, to read your Bible every day. However God wants you to share truth... be willing!
- EUM Team