What an impact the preaching of John the Baptist had! This might not be apparent immediately but there are clues here and there (see Acts 18:25 and 19:3). Paul meets those at Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John – a vast distance from the Jordan. Luke 3 shows the bluntness of John’s message; it was far from a simple appeal to love your neighbour as yourself – which is the substance of the preaching in many churches today. They had to examine themselves and change their ways and “bear fruits in keeping with repentance”. To put it bluntly they had to show they were repentant by actions not just words.

John was the one sent to “prepare the way of the Lord” (verse 4) of whom Isaiah had prophesied (40:3-5). John detailed what the Lord, the Messiah, was to accomplish. What he did not realize (like everyone else) was that Messiah would have to come twice! Only part of John’s preaching was accomplished by Jesus at his first coming – the rest awaits Messiah’s imminent second coming. How awesome are the words that apply to that coming!

“His winnowing fork (used in harvesting) is in his hands to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (verse 17). Chaff are useless ears of wheat, they have failed to produce; how much chaff can God see today!

Let us make sure we are not among the chaff! Let us all “bear good fruit” for John also preached, “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (verse 9). Bearing good fruit should be a labour of love for our Lord – before the harvest occurs. What wonders then follow!