“Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16–17, NIV84)
What a man of God John the Baptist was! He was chosen by God to herald the Messiah’s coming. He was called to prepare the hearts, minds, and souls of the people of Israel for Jesus. The text says that “he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah.” As I said, he was no ordinary man. Not a single prophet of the Old or New Testaments was as amazing a figure as Elijah. The Lord worked some pretty amazing miracles through Elijah. But this would not be the way the Lord would use John. The miracle God would work through John would be to win the hearts and souls of His people. John is really the first evangelist. He preached a message of preparatory repentance so one might be ready for the salvation coming in the Messiah. John’s message softened hearts and made them ready to accept Jesus and His Word.
Did you know that we have the same responsibility/opportunity? As witnesses to Jesus’ mercy and grace, we have the ability to prepare hearts for Him. Our everyday living is not supposed to be for the stuff of this world alone. We are citizens of the kingdom of God. We have the opportunity to herald the message of salvation. How best do we do that? Just tell your story. Share how God has been merciful and faithful to you throughout your life. Let them see what God has done for you. The same Spirit that empowered the life and message of John the Baptist empowers ours as well.