This story is featured in Prepare the Way: Advent and Christmas Bible Stories for Kids.
Matthew 3:1–11; Mark 1:2–8; Luke 3:1–16; John 1:19–27
John the Baptist was the best known preacher in all of Judea. He preached an important message to help prepare the way of the Lord.
As you read this story, pay attention to the message John the Baptist shared with his disciples in the wilderness.
A very inspiring man lived in the wilderness of Judea, repeating to all who came to listen to him, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!” His name was John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a unique person. He owned nothing. He wore uncomfortable camel’s hair and a leather belt. He fasted every day, eating only wild honey and bugs called locusts.
The rumors spread about him. Many wondered if he was the Messiah who the prophets predicted would return someday for the salvation of Israel.
But the prophet Isaiah had said that there would be a voice in the wilderness before the Messiah returned, crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!”
When a few priests came to ask John who he was, he replied, “I am not the Messiah. I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”
John told the people who came to listen to him to change their ways and repent. Those who wished to change and receive forgiveness from God joined John at the Jordan River. He took them down into the river and washed them, saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance and forgiveness of sins, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The people wondered who this might be. Surely John the Baptist was preparing them for the coming of the Messiah. None of them realized it at the time, but a local man named Jesus of Nazareth was coming to meet John in the wilderness, too.
John the Baptist Reflection Questions
- What message did John the Baptist preach?
- How can you change your ways, and what sins do you need God to forgive today?
- How can you prepare the way for Jesus to be present in your life?
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