"And [John the Baptist] went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." - Luke 3:3
"John answered them all saying, 'I baptize you with water, but he [Yeshua] who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire." - Luke 3:16
In these two verses, we see the mission of John the Baptist. He viewed himself as an agent of the New covenant. The New covenant has three essential components: the forgiveness of sins, the circumcision of the heart, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (see Jeremiah 31). The primary recipients of the New covenant are the people of Israel, though Gentiles are not excluded. John is essentially saying the time of the New covenant has arrived. Get ready!
As Gentile believers today, we are secondary recipients of the New covenant. Through faith in Messiah Yeshua, we have received the forgiveness of sins, a new, circumcised heart, and the promised Holy Spirit. We have been grafted in to the New covenant blessings (see Romans 11). For this I am so thankful.
Father, thank you for your New covenant promises to Israel, and that we as Church age believers have become recipients of these promises by grace. May we be like John the Baptist, ministers of the New covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6) to lost people today. In the name of Yeshua, amen.
- Jeff Coleman