“What Happens in the Wilderness…..”

On Dec. 8, Pastor Katy preaches on Matthew 3:1-12.

1 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’”

4 Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Can you hear the sounds of coyotes howling and the scampering feet of desert lizards? Can you feel the wind on your face, unhindered by buildings or trees? There is a freedom in the wilderness that is raw, vulnerable, and healing; it is there, into that wilderness that John invites us. Maybe you arrive on purpose, or maybe you just start wandering and somehow your feet are drawn there, drawn to him. A wild man stands at the water’s edge and boldly calls us to repent. You ask yourself, what does it even mean to repent, and in that wilderness, you find the freedom to be honest with yourself, fully honest. In that wilderness, you unburden yourself and leave it at the feet of a wild man, a locust-eating wild man who then points you home.