Waters of Life

Biblical Studies in Multiple Languages

Search in "English":
Home -- English -- Matthew - 028 (Call to Repentance)
This page in: -- Arabic -- Armenian -- Azeri -- Bulgarian -- Chinese -- ENGLISH -- French -- Georgian -- Hausa -- Hebrew -- Hungarian? -- Igbo -- Indonesian -- Javanese -- Latin? -- Peul -- Polish -- Russian -- Somali -- Spanish? -- Telugu -- Uzbek -- Yiddish -- Yoruba

Previous Lesson -- Next Lesson

MATTHEW - Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Matthew
PART 1 - The Preliminary Period in the Ministry of Christ (Matthew 1:1 - 4:25)
B - John the Baptist Prepares the Way of Christ (Matthew 3:1 - 4:11)

1. The Call to Repentance (Matthew 3:1-12)

3 For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.” 4 Now John himself wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him. 6 They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
(Isaiah 40:3; John 1:23)

John is like a messenger running into his isolated town calling upon all the people, "The King is coming to visit our village. Clean the road, decorate the houses, and put on the full dress." And when the elders of the town met, they saw that the public road on which the king would enter was rough and not passable. So they asked the caller to go back to his king and beg him to send laborers to remove the stones and obstructions that would prevent his coming and to prepare the way before him. They had to ask the king himself to prepare the way to them because they cannot do it.

John the Baptist was the "voice of one crying in the wilderness" (John 1:23), but it was God who gave the words. The scripture must be received for what it really is—the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). John is called the "voice", the voice of one crying aloud, which is startling and awakening. Christ is called "the Word," which, being distinct and articulate is more instructive. John as the "voice", roused men, and then Christ, as the "Word", taught them.

In the Old Testament story of Samson, Samson’s mother was about to conceive and the angel of the Lord commanded her not to drink "strong drink", yet her son, Samson, was ordained to be a "strong man". In like manner John the Baptist’s father was silenced and unable to speak for a time, yet his son was ordained to be the "voice of one crying." When the crier’s voice is begotten of a father who is unable to speak, it shows the "excellency of the power to be of God, and not of man".

John's cry was a spiritual call to all people—not to be wholly engaged in the worries and occupations of life, but to think of God and turn from sin, making their ways straight in society so that the glory of God may reach them.

His speech was not merely reverberating words and phrases. He lived in conformity with what he said and preached. He dressed like other prophets and lived in the wilderness, separated from the people, testifying to their need for God and calling for repentance. He ate locusts, which were available to him in the wilderness and were allowed as clean according to the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 11:22). He did not wear soft clothing as the courtiers, but like the nomads he was clothed in camel’s hair that was as rough as sandpaper. John the Baptist did without rich food to prove that food, drink and comfort were not important, but he spoke boldly of what is of great important—our relationship with God. So how is your relation with your Lord? What are your sins that prevent his response to you? Do you remember your lies, your revenge on your opponents and your impurities? Your sins have separated from your Lord. Your educational degrees and good report will not save you from his judgment. How is your conscience? Be reconciled to God through the death of his Son.

The words of the Baptist shook the people of Judea. They raced to see him and hear him preach. There the repentant kneeled, bowed their heads and were baptized by him in the Jordan River. They were ashamed of their sins, and confessed their bad deeds in public, seeking God’s forgiveness and purification. Though they turned from their bad deeds, they did not think that they were good and godly, but realized themselves to be sinners deserving God's holy judgment. They cried out for God's grace and mercy knowing that the law did not justify them, for their consciences testified against them.

John’s food was composed of honey and locusts. This agreed with the doctrine he preached of "repentance" and "fruits worthy of repentance." Those whose business is to call others to mourn for sin, and to mortify it, ought themselves to live a serious life, a life of self-denial, humility, and contempt of the world.

John went out of the region where he was to the other regions around Jerusalem. Those who would have the benefit of John’s ministry must "go out" to him in the wilderness, sharing in his reproach.

They who truly desire the life that the message of God brings, if it is not taken to them, will seek for it; and they who learn the doctrine of repentance must "go out" from the hurry of this world, and be still.

Dear brother, examine your conscience thoroughly, and uncover your heart, your thoughts and your deeds. Come to your Lord and confess before him every fault you have committed. Know that you are not good, but a sinner and unclean before the holiness and purity of God. Deny yourself, forget your selfishness and seek your Lord and his will. You will not be able to satisfy him if you do not confess your sins. Your mind will not find comfort and peace as long as you keep silent about your faults. Open your heart to God. He is faithful and just to forgive your every fault. Do not hesitate—hurry and throw yourself into the river of God’s love that Christ may save you and you may become a new man of faith, acceptable to God and men.

PRAYER: O my God, O my Lord, you know best about my past, that I am a sinner and deserve your judgment. Please forgive my sins, according to the multitude of your mercy; do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.


  1. What are the principles of the preaching and the life of John the Baptist?


Page last modified on March 01, 2022, at 07:29 AM | powered by PmWiki (pmwiki-2.3.3)