“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’” —Luke 3:4-6
We hear about John the Baptist in the beginning of the Gospels, and in Luke 3 he comes on the scene. Six months apart from Jesus, John wastes no time starting his ministry. The first time we hear of John, he’s already on mission. He knew exactly what it was. Not even Jesus’ disciples began their mission as quickly! They each needed to ease into their roles, but not John—John was ready from the get-go.
God has given every person on a earth a “why.” You’re not here to simply exist or waste time and space. God’s given you a purpose and a mission. What’s your why?
In verse 3, we see exactly what John’s mission—his entire mission—is.
“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” —Luke 3:3
Every word and every verse in the Bible was placed there intentionally by the work of the Holy Spirit. This message is no different. The baptism of repentance is vital for every Christian to hear about and respond to. John’s mission was to make this message clear.
In verse 7 we see that the multitudes came out to be baptized by him, in verse 12 it was the tax collectors, and in verse 14 it was the soldiers. After being baptized by him, each group of people asked John, “What should we do?” And John responded to each that they were to live their life on mission for Christ, loving the people around them.
John was called to a specific region, for a specific mission, in such a time as this, to minister to everyone around him. As leaders, our number one mission should be the same as that of God—people. God’s mission is always people. If you were to do open-heart surgery on God, that’s all you’d see—people!
Look at the people that John ministered to—everyone! We’re not boxed in to give God’s message only to a certain type or demographic of people. It’s for everybody. Our “why” should be people; not ourselves, but other people. We’re not called to serve our family or church or teams or staff. In every area of our lives, God has placed us to influence people for Him because wherever we are, there the Kingdom of God is. You are the Kingdom of God and His power and influence are within you!
John did not perform baptisms to point others to himself. When people began to question if he was the One they had been waiting for, he quickly shot that idea down.
“John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water. But One who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” —Luke 3:16
John knew his mission, and furthermore, he knew the mission of Jesus Christ. The first thing John said when he saw Jesus for the first time was, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John’s leadership was pivotal to Jesus’ ministry. Why? Jesus could not start until John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus’ mission. John’s “why” had nothing to do with him; he was paving the way for something and Someone much greater than himself.
Know your “why.” We are paving the way for the next generation. We’re called to lay down our lives, serve the Kingdom of God, and discover our “why” and live it out passionately. This is what John did—because he fulfilled his “why,” Jesus was able to begin His. In the words of John:
“He must become greater; I must become less.” —John 3:30
Even Jesus Himself surrendered His life to fulfill God’s mission, even to the point of death! Nothing could stop Him from paving the way for us, nullifying our sins and giving us access to His Spirit so we can have eternal life with Him. In the same way, it’s extremely important that we know our “why” and fulfill the destiny that God has for us.
What is your “why?”
—LaMorris Crawford, Chaplain of the Cincinnati Bengals
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