Insert text here.
Week 38 Day 2
One Sunday in December, the lesson was about John the Baptist and the people who left their homes in the towns and villages to go into the desert and hear this unusual spokesman for God. They heard about repentance and the kingdom of God in their midst,
about the Jordan River and washing away the old and becoming new.
In class we talked about wilderness experiences as times of suffering, struggle, hardship, testing and training.
Someone quoted from Isaiah 35, that the desert shall bloom, and said
something about beautiful things happening when we least expect them.
After class, as often happens, people who get stuck on certain ideas
usually can find others with insights of their own to share.
So with an odd assortment of people apparently waiting around for
something more to happen, one brave soul tested the waters by saying,
"This business of the wilderness--it seems some of us spend more time there than anywhere else!"
That comment was all it took for the rest of us to reveal what was
on our minds too. It went something like this:
----When you are struggling through something, simple things take on
such beauty and meaning, comfort and strength; just little things
like a smile or hug or kind words from a stranger or friend.
---The desert holds a richness all its own, a closeness to God
you never experience anywhere else.
---There are wildflowers growing in my wilderness, like the ones
Jesus referred to when he said, "Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these."
---The flowers are there, but you have to know how to find them
and where to look. Sometimes you need a helping hand.
And so it went, all of us knowing that there is always some life
in the bleakest part of the wilderness, because God is there.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I almost didn't get to class that day because
the medication I was taking made me groggy and unfit for functioning
properly in public; my leg hurt me so much I couldn't sit still. I wasn't seeing any sign of improvement, but would rather lie than admit to being in pain; . . . . . The desert blooms, the wildflowers hold a rare beauty, and at times we need a friend to take our hand.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
Share, be just, be content, and watch for Jesus.
2John the son of Zacharias 3went into the region around the
Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of
sins, 4as it is written in the book of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way
of the Lord; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be
filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked
places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
7He said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized,
"Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath
to come? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance and do not say,
'We have Abraham as our father.' God is able to raise up
children to Abraham from these stones. 9Even now the ax
is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree which does not
bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
10People asked, "What shall we do?" 11He answered
them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has
none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."
12Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him,
"Teacher, what shall we do?" 13He said, "Collect no more
than what is appointed for you." 14Soldiers asked him,
"What shall we do?" He said to them, "Do not intimidate
anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."
15As the people were in expectation, and reasoned about
John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16John answered them,
"I baptize you with water, but One mightier than I is coming,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize
with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17A winnowing fan is in His hand; He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn."
18With many other exhortations he preached to the people.
21Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven
was opened. 22The Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like
a dove upon Him, and a voice from heaven said, "You are
My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased."
19Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by John concerning
Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which
Herod had done, 20also added this, above all, that he shut
John up in prison.
23Now Jesus began His ministry at about thirty years of age. This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV
< prev page next page >