Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 3:1-12.

If I had to guess, I’d say that if any of us were to meet John the Baptist, without knowing it were him, we’d be a bit shocked. Although his appearance and sources of food would not have been uncommon among poor desert dwellers like himself, it would most likely make us uncomfortable. Yet, even with essentially no resources and a rough appearance, he preaches the simple, one-sentence sermon “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is apparently enough for swarms of people to arrive at the river Jordan to see him anyway. Who wouldn’t want to go see the crazy man in the desert spout nonsense? However, what happens next is baffling. They believe him! And almost everyone is getting baptized and confessing their sins. Then, once John sees the Pharisees and Sadducees, the heat gets turned up. He begins speaking of trees getting chopped down and chaff being burned. This sounds a little different from his earlier message, wouldn’t you say? But, similar to Jesus later in Matthew, John has little mercy for hypocrites. These people were teachers, men who spent a great amount of time in God’s Law, yet they failed to live it out. Finally, John reaches the pinnacle of his purpose: to proclaim the coming of the Messiah! He claims that this man will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire, allegedly different from John baptizing with water. So, what do we learn from all of this? I would say the two biggest takeaways are these: a simple message about the Gospel can go a long way; we should be pumped about the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. John’s message was short, and it had a huge effect! Even though our culture is different than the one John lived in, you still have a voice. Start with something small, but always make sure you are leading the relationships you have with your faith first. In the context of this passage, why should we be excited about the Holy Spirit? Because John told us the Messiah is going to immerse us in Him! We shouldn’t be rejecting gifts from God because they will always be good. And I speak from experience when I say that when you walk in step with Him, the Spirit, life gets so much better.

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*
  1. What do you think it is about John’s simple sermons that makes people seek repentance?

  1. Although John only had a few words to speak, he spoke them boldly with conviction. The beautiful thing about the body of Christ is that we have all been given different gifts and different life experiences that bring revelation. The truth that God chooses to reveal to you becomes part of your testimony. It is this truth that you can speak boldly with conviction. What truth has God shown you through your life experiences? How could you share this truth?

  1. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. John understands something that the Pharisees and Sadducees do not. The Spirit gives truth. Apart from the Spirit, we stay inactive and are unwilling to change (kind of like the religious leaders). However, like 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, when we live life walking in step with the Spirit, He transforms us and reveals truth. How are you letting the Spirit change you to better reflect Jesus? What areas of your life do you need to release to the Spirit so that He can change you and call you to action?

Prayer: The Spirit is the giver of truth. If you need discernment or a fresh perspective, He is there to give it to you. Scripture says that when we ask for wisdom, believing God can grant it, He gives generously without finding fault. Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Pray that God would reveal the simple truth that he has called you to share; and pray that you would be open to change in the ways the Spirit is calling you to.

Song: Simple Gospel by United Pursuit
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