In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
4John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 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.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Jesus loved John the Baptist, and John loved Jesus. In fact, they were cousins, and in age, only a few months apart. But they saw each other as more than cousins. Jesus, the Son of God, knew of John before the creation of the world. He knew ahead of time what the purpose and role of John’s life would be. He would be a forerunner to Jesus, one to tell the world the Messiah was coming. And when Jesus showed up, John would point toward Jesus and tell those around him, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” Not only did Jesus know who John was, John knew who Jesus was. The promised Messiah. The Savior. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He knew Jesus was greater and superior, and John was excited about the arrival of Jesus on the scene. Like John, how can we live our lives pointing to Jesus and telling those around us, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”?