The King is Coming! When Jesus came, it began an unstoppable era of thirty-three years that shook the world. And the world continues to shake. Has there ever been anyone that has impacted the world more than Jesus? Has there ever been anyone that has caused more lives to be changed? Has there ever been anyone that has given more to save and redeem all the people who ever lived on the planet?
God went to great lengths to ensure that the coming of His Son would not be overlooked or missed. I love college football, especially the Aggies. One of the things that sports reporters and tv stations do well is to hype the coming football season. They cover recruiting, scheduled games, Spring games, coaching changes, player transfers. Fans know well the football season is coming because they have people thinking about it and waiting for it and expecting it and when it does come. God began to advertise His plan for salvation through the Messiah not months or years ahead of time but centuries beforehand. Through the prophets he would give bits and pieces of information to His people of what was to come. When college football season does kick off. I’m sure that they’ll kick it off with a bang. When God’s Messiah arrived, God trumpeted it from the heavens! The angels sang and rejoiced, the shepherds went and worshipped, the wise men traveled to see Him, what God had advertised throughout the ages was here. God took it one step further. He sent a man to prepare the way for the ministry of His Son. He sent a man to point people to Christ and to proclaim that God’s kingdom was at hand. In the days of kings, each king had Heralds, the Herald was the messenger. The herald would bring news from the king and would announce the arrival of the king. It’s fitting that as we look at the book of Matthew and the theme of “the Kingdom,” that this king too would have a herald, one to shout the news of his arrival and to deliver the news of His coming kingdom. The King had come and His Herald went out and shouted to all the world, the King is coming! Are you ready, the king is coming!
John the Baptist was born to introduce Jesus. One man, from his mother’s womb to his deathbed was here for one reason and one reason only; to announce the coming of the King. There was a King coming and there was an announcement of His arrival that must be made.
Matthew 3:1-4 “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying,’ Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!
The message was simple; his sermon consisted of 8 words. This may explain why he was a popular speaker. Eight words but they were words that carried a lot of weight and responsibility to the one who heard it. Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is near. He knew Christ was coming, as the Herald of the King he is announcing the coming kingdom, a time when God’s plan would reach fulfillment, the gates of heaven would be opened, and access to God would be available to all who believed. The kingdom was at hand, the time that every Jew had grown up listening to stories about and had waited for was here. And John wanted to make it clear that this kingdom would belong to those who turned from their sins and turned to God, to those who repented.
Repentance is a word that we don’t use as much as we should. We emphasize the love of God and the forgiveness of God those aren’t bad things to emphasize, they’re the heart of the Gospel. But often we leave out repentance. We talk about confession and then God’s promise to forgive but John’s message went beyond confession. Repentance is a heart condition that sees our condition of sinfulness before God. When we realize our condition and the depth of our sin, repentance is turning away from it and heading in a new direction. To repent literally means to turn around.
Repentance means doing an about-face—a 180-degree turn—from the kind of self-centeredness that leads to wrong actions such as lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, taking revenge, abusing, and indulging in sexual immorality. A person who stops rebelling and begins following God’s way of living prescribed in his Word is a person who has repented. The first step in turning to God is to admit your sin, as John urged. Then God will receive you and help you live the way he wants.
John’s message was then, and is now, the only true gospel message: repent, for the kingdom is at hand. The repentance John preaches is the complete shedding of old ways. It was not just saying you’re sorry, it was saying that you wanted whatever this kingdom of heaven had to offer and you were willing to do whatever it took to gain it. When you move into a new kingdom, you certainly would not go there thinking that you were not going to live under the rule of the King of that kingdom. A king rules. He is Lord and Master of all He surveys. No one can overrule the king, nor can anyone ignore the kings wishes.
Matthew 3:2c -3…the kingdom of heaven is at hand! For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.
Matthew understood that John the Baptist was, in fact, the voice that came crying out to the people of Israel. The Greek word for “crying” is boao, meaning “to cry out with great feeling.” John the Baptist’s message was full of emotion and came directly from God. John was merely God’s mouthpiece for the important message that God was sending to his people: Prepare the way of the Lord. How were they to do this?
The word “prepare” refers to making something ready; the word “way” could also be translated “road.” The picture could come from the ancient Middle Eastern custom of sending servants ahead of a king to level and clear the roads to make them passable for his journey. The people in Israel needed to prepare their minds to eagerly anticipate their King and Messiah and we do too. The verbs are in the imperative, meaning that John spoke them as a military general would speak commands—to be obeyed immediately and without hesitation. Those who accepted John’s status as a true prophet from God understood these words as God’s words to them, humbled themselves, repented, received baptism, and opened the “way” for their Messiah to take hold of their lives.
Here’s my prayer and you can join me. “I repent, Lord Jesus of my sinful ways, I need you. The kingdoms of the world and the kingdom I try to build for myself all crumble and let me down. “Yours is the kingdom, the power and glory forever, Amen!
Message Audio/Video and Outline: https://upwards.church/watch-now/leander-campus-videos
Watch Messages: YouTube-Upwards Church
Sources: Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew.
Behold He Comes, Contributed by Earl Graston
Ps. Sorry for contacting you through comments. I couldn’t find an email.
Hi Dave, no worries, please use the content on this blog as it fits.