John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1 In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
4 John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. 5 People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. 6 And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
Jesus, I am so not like John. I want nice things. I want to be comfortable. I eat so much good food I am 20 pounds over weight. Right now, I am sure I just don’t love You even close to as much as I should. I sin. I am greedy. Why can’t I change?
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of you sins and turned to God.” It is so scary Lord. I see so many faults in my life. I want to change, but I can’t without You. Or do I really want to change? When I have to choose, do I choose You? Many times I don’t. Perhaps my repentance isn’t real, because I choose sin again and again.
Lord, give me a Godly sorrow to my soul for my sins. Help me change. Soften my heart. And please Lord, get me into the river!
11 “I baptize with[d] water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[e] 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
Lord, I have sinned again today. I know so well that by myself I am chaff and deserve to be burned My only hope is Your sacrifice for me is my only hope. Why can’t I change Lord? Is there anyone in the world less deserving of Your love than me? I want to repent of my sins and turn to You, but still I sin and turn away. What is wrong with me Lord?
Lord, don’t let me be chaff. Change me into wheat. Make me a blessing to someone Lord. I want to be baptized with Your Holy Spirit and fire, but I am not worthy. But I will never be worth! Lord Jesus, in Your mercy, cover me with Your blood, wash away my sins and my failings, and poor Your Spirit over me and through me.
The sins, the stupidity, it has got to STOP! HELP ME LORD.
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” 15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.[f]” So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened[g] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Lord, I expect, I guess that You would do all that God requires, but it does seem strange for You to be baptized by John. Yet, You and John both just go along with it because it was what Your Father wanted. Why don’t I have such a simple faith and attitude? I usually know what the Father wants in a particular situation. So why don’t I do it every time?
Lord, I don’t fail every time. You have changed me so much over the years. Even just giving me the desire to be changed, is a change. Perhaps my prayers for change aren’t giving You the praise and thanks You deserve for the changes You have already made. I could never praise and thank You enough Lord. Never.
Thank-you Lord for all You have done. Father, I have a hard time imagining You calling me Your son and certainly I don’t see me bringing You joy. But I do know You love me, even if I don’t know why. I hope somehow I can bring You some small gift of joy, despite my sins. Do mold me Father, so I do “all that You require.” Amen.
Yet You are still here with me. Why is that? Lord, I am completely unable to separate myself from this world. I can’t seem to turn away from pleasure and temptation. Make me like John. Make me not care about this life at all. Change me Lord. I feel like it is just You and I, and I keep turning away from You. Help, I am sinking!