November 1, 2022 - Matthew 3
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (3:1-2). Not only had Messiah’s birth been foretold but, also, that of John and his ministry: “A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God’” (Isaiah 40:3) and “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me” (Malachi 3:1).
What a great man was John, bold and faithful, speaking only truth. He testified, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (3:11). Mark reported John’s words: “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie” (Mark 1:7). John’s take on the matter was confirmed: “A voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (3:17). The story . . . it’s about Messiah! It’s about Jesus!
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
announces that the Lord is nigh.
Awake and harken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings!
All praise to you, eternal Son,
whose advent has our freedom won,
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Spirit, evermore. --Charles Coffin (1736)