They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
After 400 silent years—the period between the last Old Testament prophet and the appearing of John the Baptist—there was now quite some uproar. Here was a man who lived in the wilderness, “wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist,” and ate “locusts and wild honey” (Matt. 3:4).
He cried out to the people about the kingdom of heaven and called for repentance. When the religious leaders came to his baptism, he said: “You brood of Vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7). It’s an understatement to say that he didn’t fit the religious mold. That was the main reason they asked him about his baptism and gathering disciples.
In their mind, only the Christ, or Elijah, or the Prophet was able and allowed to make such a religious change. John had already given them the Biblical answer about his mandate and mission: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said” (John 1:23). Yet, they didn’t receive that.
Here’s a solemn warning: we need to be careful to not reject anything that is fully grounded in God’s word, while not fitting within our religious mold. It’s so easy to place our religious convictions over God’s own word.
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The Devotional Author
Author of “An Unfathomable Gift!“