Matthew chapter 3 focuses on the manifestation of the prophecies of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3-5) and of Malachi (Malachi 3:1), both of whom foretold of John’s ministry 700 and 430 years respectively prior to the birth of John.
The son of Hebrew priest Zechariah and of a descendant of Aaron – Elizabeth, John was a miracle child given to his parents by the Most High Yah in their old age. I want to believe they were both above age 80 owing to the scriptures saying they were advanced in age and it did not say the same of Moses, who was 76 years old when he got his first son Gershom (Jasher 76:12 +10yrs of imprisonment(Jasher 77:27)).
While irrelevant to his ministry of repentance,John the Baptist was the biological cousin of Yeshua/Jesus and was only six months older than Yeshua (Luke 1:26). The angel of the Lord gave special instructions as to how John was to be raised. He was not to drink wine or any form of alcoholic beverages (Luke 1:15). This is a perfect example to show that, even in today’s world, sacrifices have to be made to maintain a relationship with God and to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
John the Baptist was what people of today’s generation would call a simple man because of his way of life and his most notable diet being the fruit locust – stinking toe – and wild honey, but nothing about John was simple. He was an extraordinary man! He was filled with the Holy Spirit and was ordained before birth to make straight the way of the Lord. You may ask yourself how could John prepare people for Jesus, or make straight the way of the Lord. This was achieved in the same way a weather forecaster today makes way for a storm, talking about it and informing people of its behaviour, speed, likely path and more pertinent details that will assist us in knowing how to protect ourselves from it. In the same way John would reemphasize the laws of God- commandments and statutes – and preach the gospel of repentance to the Jews. He taught saying “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”.
His ministry was very successful, resulting in many of our ancestors (Israelites) going out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan, Confessing their sins and being baptized by him in the Jordan River. The success of his ministry caused the Sadducees and Pharisees to start paying attention, following his crowds waiting for an opportunity to accuse him of something.
Sadducees – Jews who denied the existence of spirits, the resurrection and traditions that were passed down but never recorded in a recognized publication.
Pharisees – A social party of Jews believing in the resurrection and the following of legal traditions, who were not avid followers of the bible, but rather paid attention to the traditions of the fathers. They were known to be legal observers.
In our walk with God we will come across people who are well-learned in history and religion and some who know the bible like they know the routines in their lives, but you are to use spiritual wisdom on them like John did in verse 7-10.
We cannot say we have repented and our lives do not change (Acts 26:20 & 2 Corinthians 7:11). Our fruits are supposed to set us apart from those who are not children of the Most High God and should be the things in our lives that outsiders aspire towards. Galatians 5:22-26 will highlight for you the 12 fruits of the Spirit. We should strive daily to have them manifested in our lives, which becomes easier over time when we are also striving to keep the commandments. When we keep Yahweh’s commandments and honour his covenant with our forefathers, which he said will be forever, he will grant unto us the gifts of the Spirit itemized in Isaiah 11:2-3.
Mordecai Amon Israel