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Christmas Devotional | Day 15

December 14, 2017

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 | A Strange Diet
 

Key Takeaway
John the Baptist was the promised prophet who announced the Lord's coming.
 
Today's Reading
Matthew 3:1-6
 
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
 
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.'"
 
Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was lo­custs and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
 
Brief Reflection
John the Baptist was a striking figure. Before his public ministry, he spent most of his time in the wilderness. We learn from Matthew's Gospel that John's diet consisted of locusts and wild honey and that he wore a garment of camel's hair. Who ever heard of a prophet with a wardrobe like that?
 
Actually, the description of John's clothing sounds very similar to another great prophet of Israel-Elijah (2 Kings 1:8). This similarity was no coincidence, for the angel had told Elizabeth that her son would go before the Lord "in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17). Jesus later confirmed this same connection between Elijah and John (Matthew 11:14), a connection that had been prophesied centuries earlier:
 
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Malachi 4:5)
 
John prepared the way for Jesus as he proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." This message of repentance prepared Israel for the coming of the King. Now, as we reflect on the King's first coming during Advent, we too ought to respond with repentance as we gladly anticipate His second coming.
 
Simple Summary
Hundreds of years before Christ's coming, the prophet Isaiah said there would be a voice in the wilderness who would prepare the way for the Lord. (A prophet is someone who speaks and writes the words given to him by God.) That voice was John the Baptist, the prophet who prepared Israel to meet King Jesus by calling them to repent, or turn from their sins. Like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, John's ministry was filled with the Lord's power.
 
Discuss
As believers, what does it mean to be prepared for Christ's second coming?
 
For Kids: When is the last time you felt sorry about something you thought or said or did? What did you do when you felt this way? (Remember, we want our children to sense the Lord's conviction over their sins. Encourage your children to confess their sins to the Lord instead of trying to hide them.)
 
Pray
Ask God to help you continually turn from your sins and trust in His grace and power.
 
For Further Reading
Read more in Isaiah 40:1-8 about the background to John the Bap­tist's ministry of preparing the way of the Lord.

Memory Verse
John 1:14a
 
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory . . ."
 
Practical Response - Meet a Need
As a family, purchase a gift for a family, an individual, or a child in your community who cannot afford a gift at Christmas. Alternately, you might serve for a day at a local Christian ministry that cares for the homeless and/or underprivileged in your community.

Devotional credit: Radical, Inc.

Esta devocional disponible en Español

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