Read: Mark 1:1-8

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness . . . (v. 4)

John became the most famous preacher of his generation. For many, he outshined his cousin Jesus. In Acts 19, Paul even reports meeting a group of believers baptized by John who had not heard of Jesus. When he told them about the promised Messiah, they gladly accepted a new baptism in Jesus’ name.

John himself did his best to tamp that down. “I’m just the warm-up act,” he said. “The more powerful one is coming.” John was not the one but he was mighty important to prepare the way. John was the one who had to get people’s attention, had to make them serious about their sinfulness, had to make them repent and get baptized. Why? Because that would make people eager for Jesus! After all, if a plumber arrives at your front door and says, “How can I help?” but you have no plumbing problems of which you are aware, you will send him away. Yet if a pipe bursts in your basement and you see the house filling up with water, well then the arrival of the plumber is fantastic. You cannot open the door fast enough to let him in.

John told people—the high and the low, the rich and the poor—that they had a terrible problem with sin. That way when Jesus knocked on the front door of their hearts, those folks could respond with fervent joy. “Oh, dear Jesus! Am I ever glad to see you!” —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: We confess our sins to you, O God, and so welcome the Savior into our hearts every day. Amen.