One of the people we always read about during the season of Advent is Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist. That’s because John was God’s “advance man” for Jesus. God tasked him with preparing the way for His Son, letting the people know who Jesus was and why He was coming. When we read about John, we might ask why God would use a strange guy like him. So, let’s consider John and his message as we listen to today’s passage:
At that time John the Baptist came to the desert of Judea and started preaching. “Turn away from your sins,” he said, “because the Kingdom of heaven is near!” John was the man the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he said, “Someone is shouting in the desert, ‘Prepare a road for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel!’” John's clothes were made of camel's hair; he wore a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all over the country near the Jordan River. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan. When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, “You den of poisonous snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. (Matthew 3:1-8)
Wow! How do you think John’s message would go over today? He didn’t dress like everybody else. He wore clothes made of camel hair and pulled his wardrobe together with a leather belt. He didn’t eat what everyone else was eating. He ate locusts and wild honey. When you saw him coming out of the desert, you likely saw a hairy-looking, unkempt man with a sticky beard and maybe a locust leg sticking out of one corner of his mouth. To make matters worse, the religious leaders didn’t like John one bit, not after he openly called them a “den of poisonous snakes.” John was a bit unusual and might not seem like he would have been a good candidate for God’s mission, but he was God’s choice. God used John the Baptist’s quirky personality, and He can use yours and my unique personalities, too.
You might not believe that you’re qualified for the mission God has chosen for you. Today, I encourage you to offer yourself to God. Ask Him to help you do what He has called you to do, just as John the Baptist surely did. This Advent season, be God’s minister to broken people in a broken world, and He will give you whatever you need to do it…and that’s such very Good News!