Matthew 3:1

In those days cometh John the Baptist - Matthew 3:1

The Evangelist is fond of the present tense, "cometh." Yes, these records are true to all time. You tell me that they happened nineteen centuries ago. Certainly; but they happened yesterday, and are happening to-day. Remember that He is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. He was, and is, and is to come. Christ was born into the world, but He is always being born into the hearts of men in Regeneration. John preceded and announced His advent in the wilderness of Judaea; and He is always preparing His way into the hearts and lives of men. It is doubtful whether Jesus ever comes into the heart of mature manhood without the previous work of a John the Baptist. Of days of conviction of sin, of remorse, of repentance, we may truly say, "In those days cometh John the Baptist."

John the Baptist is sadly needed to-day. Much of what we call Christianity is but Christianized heathenism. It glozes over covetousness, luxurious self-indulgence, compliance with fashion and worldliness; it admits into its high places men who thrive on the oppression of the poor; it condones the oppression of the native races, the sale of opium and spirits, the shameless traffic in impurity; it rears the ideals of the world in the place of the changeless cross of the slain Christ with its divine sorrow and blood. Ah, we need that John the Baptist should come with his stern words about the axe, the winnowing-fan, and the fire. Nothing less will avail to prepare the way for a new coming of Christ.

Each age has had its John the Baptist. Now St. Bernard; now Savonarola; now John Knox. With sonorous, ringing voice the herald has prepared the way of the King: "He cometh to judge the world!"