How John the Baptist Set the Stage for Grace

I. John the Baptist calls Some People Vipers

John the Baptist is an interesting Bible character, known for preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. Yet the picture that probably sticks in some people’s minds is him calling Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 4:7)

It was a scary message for them, but was it his main message? Does John the Baptist seem to paint a picture of an angry God? Is his a condemning message or does it set the stage for grace?

Let’s start by asking this question: What sort of repentance did John the Baptist preach?

II. John Says Share (Show Grace to the Less Fortunate)

Try this on for size: “He that has two coats, let him impart to him that has none; and he that has meat, let him do likewise.” (Luke 3:11) In other words, show grace and share with those in need. This could be a Christmas message, Charles Dickens style: Let the self-centered Scrooge learn to love his neighbor as himself.

To the publicans (tax collectors) John said, “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.” In other words, do your job and don’t be greedy. In a world where people sometimes cheat for fear of not having enough, John the Baptist promotes self-control, a fruit of the Holy Spirit and gift of God’s grace which enables believers to keep God’s seventh command “Don’t steal.”

III. John Says Don’t Be Violent; Be Content

To soldiers, John the Baptist said, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” Boy, does our world need that message! We see violence almost everywhere: especially on TV; also via the Internet and even on our phones. Violence is a form of murder, addressed by the sixth command “Don’t kill.” Showing grace and mercy is the opposite of murder.

As for false accusation, it has become the latest rage on social media. God calls it “bearing false witness against your neighbor” (lying or “fake news”). False accusation is mean. God doesn’t like it. Thank God for John the Baptist who struck a blow for telling the truth! Doing God’s will is not drudgery. It’s all about His grace.

Finally, being content with one’s wages is the opposite of coveting and touches on the very last commandment, which is about not envying other people’s stuff. To be content is a positive thing, made possible through Jesus through whom grace and mercy flow. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John declares in John 1:29.

In so doing, he sets the stage for grace.

Author: C R Flamingbush

C.R. Flamingbush grew up in Wheaton, Illinois and graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in German and linguistics. After working seven years for the Department of Defense (an easy job), she took on the most difficult challenge in the world: a lifetime career of raising four children. Along the way she developed a passion for writing Christian superhero fantasy. She enjoys humor because it's Biblical (see the second psalm) and she loves to make people laugh - whether through her writings, her art, or just by being herself. Writing fantasy is her way of poking fun at human foibles and all the ridiculous ideas that so easily beset the human race, while at the same time honoring God in every way she can. Flamingbush has been a member of Faithwriters since 2010, and several of her winning contest entries have been published by Fresh Air Press. She likes Fan Story and has been a Narnia fan since the age of ten. In terms of influence, she aspires to be the next C.S. Lewis but has quite a ways to go in that regard. Speed of Sight, a Superhero Adventure, is her first novel. A sequel is in the works.

Feel free to share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s