When John received the word, he went with the word. No greater testimony could be given of man that he received the word and went with the word. So much is said in the simple phrase “he went.”
O’ that we would all go. I am amazed at how many can hear the word and sit. How many can hear the word and do nothing! Luke later recorded for us that “those who gladly received the word were baptized” (Acts 2). This was their reception of Christ, and Christ’s reception of them. It seems to me then that to hear the word and not to be moved to action is to reject Christ and to have him reject you.
When John received the word, he understood he was simultaneously commissioned by that same word. So he went preaching. The word “proclaiming’ is κηρύσσων a present active Greek participle meaning John took up the habit of being a proclaimer. The word itself is defined as: “(1) denoting the official activity of a herald announce, publicly proclaim (RV 5.2); (2) make known extensively, tell everywhere” (Analytical Lexicon of the New Testament, 230). Simply put, John became a preacher. Should we do any less? Why should we be blessed alone? “Freely you have received, freely we should give.”
John was dedicated in his mission. “He went ito all the region around the Jordan.” There is a time for mission work over seas. There is always time for mission work on the other side of town, on the other side of the street, and on the other side of the room.
John was like the man demoniac who pled to journey with Jesus but was refused. Instead he went about telling what great things the Lord had done for him. He preached in the Decapolis—the region of 10 cities. Let us go.
John’s commission included not only the action of preaching but also the message to be preached. The Christian is not called to amplify not creat. So John went preaching “a baptism of repentance for (eis) the forgiveness of sins.” This was a simple message. One cannot help be be reminded of Jonah, the reluctanct prophet, whose message was “repent or in three days Nineveh will be destoyed.” This simple message was effective. The whole city repented. So it was with John’s preaching—the whole region came out to be baptized by him.
Christian, you have been commissioned by the same God who commissioned John and Jonah.
“Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commaded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).