3In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” 4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
7But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
- So... here is where the some of the difference comes from between Christians and Christian denominations. John the Baptist had followers just like Jesus later has followers. "Christian" means a follower of Christ.
- It is very easy to like what John the Baptist has to say or what Paul has to say versus what Jesus has to say. These aren't directly at odds with each other, but the question must be asked, "Who are you following?"
- If someone is following Paul, they are a Paul follower, not a Christ follower. I'm not making any judgments here, just by definition, that's what it is logically speaking. If someone is a John the Baptist follower than that is what they are.
- Both John the Baptist and Paul point to Jesus and tell people to follow him, not them, yet that's not what many of us do.
- Perspectives of these guys are part of a much bigger story and when we get caught up with them,such as with issues about baptism, homosexuality, calling out the "sin" of other people, etc. we miss the bigger picture of Jesus.
- John the Baptist here, gives a sermon that you might here in many churches today, but it is just a small part of the point. These churches stop after the sermon and miss the part about looking to Jesus and the fact that there is WAY more to the story.