by Rev Joel Yong
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
He was the forerunner of Christ.
John the Baptist’ ministry called people to turn from sin.
The baptism rite was not new to the Jews. But back then they understood it to be applicable only to Gentiles who wished to become followers of God. Since Gentiles were not of Jewish origins – they had to be washed ‘clean’ before joining the faith.
But John preached that even Jews needed to be washed ‘clean’ of their sins and turn back to God. They were not superior but as sinful as everyone else. That was what made John’s ministry unique.
So Jews heard him preach this radical message and many came to realize that they too needed cleansing from their sins.
So doing, John’s ministry set the stage for Jesus.
For Jesus came preaching that He was the One who would cleanse people of their sins once and for all.