Day 3

The Messiah’s Herald

from the Luke reading plan


Luke 3:1-38, Genesis 3:15, Acts 1:6-8

BY Andrea Lucado

From what I can tell, John the Baptist was a man to be respected. He spoke with authority. Others came to him to be baptized. They asked him for advice. They called him teacher. Many of them even wondered if he was the Messiah.

John could have told the crowd anything by the Jordan River that day, and the people probably would have followed him, but John used his God-given authority to point them to Christ:

I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I am is coming.
I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).

Several years ago, I took a trip to Italy with some friends. We visited the Vatican in hopes of seeing the renowned Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo painted the ceiling. Tourist-friendly signs dotted the Vatican campus with the words “Sistine Chapel” and an arrow pointing in its direction. Or so we thought. Many of the signs simply pointed us to the next sign that said “Sistine Chapel.” We followed sign after sign until we almost gave up.

“The Sistine Chapel isn’t here!” we declared dramatically. “These signs are lying to us.”

We did eventually wind our way to the chapel and see what we had come to see, but only after several detours that took us by other Vatican sites and gift shops.

As Christ-followers, we have been given a similar charge as John the Baptist—to be signs pointing toward the coming Christ. And yet, how often do I squander this opportunity? How often do I use my voice to point first to myself, rather than Christ? Speaking with authority, I take friends and loved ones on a detour of my own gospel. I give them all of my advice and all of my opinions when really what they need first is the comfort of Christ, the love of the Savior.

At the same time, I have often been a sucker for the signs, looking to others’ authority before Christ’s,  settling for my favorite pastor’s, author’s, or podcaster’s words, rather than allowing Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection to have the final word.

As we see in the response to John the Baptist, we are a people quick to worship humans and look for guidance from earthly sources. Many people claim to have authority. Dozens of signs promise to get you where you want to go, but there is only one Christ, only one Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world—and that is not John the Baptist, but the One to whom he was pointing.

May we look to Christ alone as our authority, and may we point others to Him as well, always quick to say, “one who is more powerful than I am is coming.”

Post Comments (70)

70 thoughts on "The Messiah’s Herald"

  1. Christina Samper says:

    I love the act of the baptism of Jesus, but I found it puzzling at first. Why would a sinless man need to be baptized in the eyes of His Father? I looked it up to see if anyone could shed some light on this, and I think this article by Unlocking the Bible does a pretty good job: https://unlockingthebible.org/2016/07/why-was-jesus-baptized/

    Overall, Jesus wanted to be baptized in order “fulfill all righteousness,” not merely by the physical act, but by the spiritual implications of it. This act was the beginning of His ministry to all of humanity.

  2. Katherine S. says:

    Thank you for this encouragment. To point to Christ in all I do….. that’s an honor, that’s a challenge, that’s worth trying to do. I’ve been drawn to John the Baptist over the years, now I know why.

  3. Kelsey Tomlinson says:

    I’ve always admired John the Baptist. To be called before you were even born to declare the coming of Christ when so many doubted and didn’t want to believe must have felt like a lot of pressure and stress at times. But, he did it anyways. If he can point to Jesus over and over, despite the challenges there must have been, then so can I!

  4. Danya says:

    As Christ-followers, we have been given a similar charge as John the Baptist—to be signs pointing toward the coming Christ. And yet, how often do I squander this opportunity? How often do I use my voice to point first to myself, rather than Christ? Speaking with authority, I take friends and loved ones on a detour of my own gospel. I give them all of my advice and all of my opinions when really what they need first is the comfort of Christ, the love of the Savior

  5. Joelle Long says:

    To recognize Christ’s work and coming and that we are just a vessel is so important. Praise the Lord for His working in us to refine us and turn us back to magnifying Him!

  6. Jennifer McElhannon says:

    I am completely guilty of doing this and feel ashamed for it. I get to where I am partial to hear from specific preachers or inspirational people and their walks with God in lieu of focusing on Christ. I believe I have gotten better recently with my walk with Christ though, knowing that He is the main focus in my life.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t look at the womens names who author each of these devotionals except for a second glance. I saw the author of this devotional and recognized the last name Lucado from Max Lucado—a famous Christian author. Whether or not the author has any relation, I put that connection together before I even started my devotional, right after reading the scripture for today. My judgement was not in the right place.

    Lord, let me focus on you. Allow me to always put you first and give you praise as each new day begins. You are always worthy. You are always ever present. You are the reason I am breathing. You are an amazing God who loves all His children and blesses them. Let me have the focus John did, don’t let me take any glory and don’t let me lean on someone’s teachings before gleaning my own understanding from the text.

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