Out Immanuel's Nurturing Truth! (P.O.I.N.T)”
Ramesh C. Reddy
so John came,
baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for
the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people
of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized
by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel's hair,
with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I,
the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I
baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
(Mark 1:4-8, NIV)
I asked myself who are all the CHARACTERS
mentioned directly or indirectly in
Whole Judean countryside
All the people of Jerusalem
One more powerful than I
I asked myself what I can
learn about John from verses 4-8?
John came baptizing in the desert region.
2. John came preaching a baptism of repentance.
3. John was able to draw huge crowd towards him.
4. John baptized those who first confessed their sins in the
5. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair.
6. John wore a leather belt around his waist.
7. John ate locusts and wild honey.
8. John knew he was a messenger.
9. John shows his humbleness.
10. John was prepared to draw crowds to the One more powerful than
I asked myself what was
the significance of each point?
& 2: John came baptizing in the desert region, preaching a baptism of
It is interesting that John did not go right into
the cities to preach a baptism of repentance but isolated himself in the
desert region, baptizing there and preaching a baptism of repentance. This fulfilled prophecy regarding
‘a voice of one calling in the desert!'
Yet, he was able to
accomplish something significant which is evident by point 3.
John was able to draw huge crowds to him.
John must have been a powerful
speaker or a speaker that drew interest that the whole Judean
countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Now as I
think about it, a desert region has lots of space that can be used for
all those who wanted to listen to him. Also when the people found out
that there was someone in the desert region preaching a baptism of
repentance, they could have been reminded of the Book of Isaiah and
wanted to check it out. Human tendency is that if a lot of people are
flocking to an area other people will usually follow even if they do not
know anything about the prophecy. This could have happened too. Now they
are in the desert region and put themselves in a place to receive. This
is evident by
John baptized those who first confessed their sins.
I found it very interesting that John did not take baptism lightly but
only baptized in the Jordan River those who confessed their sins. In
essence, he was symbolically washing them clean. This happened only
after he first preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of
sins. This showed me the connection there is between repentance and
confession. These two became prerequisites to baptism. Only after people
decided to repent (turn from) their evil ways and then confess their
evil ways did he agree to baptize them in the Jordan River.
I also found it so interesting that desert
region was mentioned first before the Jordan River. This made me realize
that many times our lifestyle can be likened to a desert region. It is
dry and like a parched land. We may want to get out of it but we are
figuratively surrounded by the desert and hope for water to quench our
thirst and give us hope. Yet, there seems to be a condition to receive
that water into our lives. It starts with admitting when our lifestyle
is wrong and deciding to confess and turn from it and to the Lord. When that happens we
do figuratively receive water into our lives, the Living Water. Now we have moved
from the desert region of thirst into alleviating our thirst. Even then,
it is interesting that John does not stop with just baptizing them in
the water which is evident later.
5-8: John, who wore clothing made of camels hair, wore a leather belt,
and ate locusts & wild honey knew he was just a messenger.
I believe whatever the Bible mentions, there is
a reason for it.
So I thought to myself, why
mention John’s clothing attire and his food?
In olden days, emissaries used to come first to
prepare the way for someone important who was going to come. They would
lay out the groundwork and preparations for that person to come. They
themselves would have some important title that would draw people to
For me clothing made of camel’s hair reminds me
of fur and the expensiveness of it. The leather belt also reminds me of
expensiveness. Leather can sure be expensive. Now the food he eats is
significant too. He eats locusts and wild honey in the desert region. I
believe God provided them for him. Honey to me is expensive and not
cheap even in the supermarkets now.
For me all this pointed to John being someone
important with a message. He knew he was a messenger and not just a
messenger but a ‘powerful messenger’
and crowds were flocking to him.
Yet, he does something that is evident by points 9 & 10.
9&10: John shows his humbleness by wanting to lead the crowd to someone
John does not take the opportunity to boost his
own resume, getting excited about all the people that were coming to
“this was his message: "After me
will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not
worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
John made three very significant points to prepare the way for the One
who was to come making three crucial claims about Jesus Christ:
After me will come one more powerful than
The thongs of whose sandals, I am not
worthy to stoop down and tie.
I baptize you with water, but he will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Statement 1: After me will come one more powerful than I.
This shows me that John was powerful but did not
let that power go to him. Instead he is humble and tells the crowd that
he is not the one to be followed because there is One who is more
powerful than he who will come.
Statement 2: The thongs of whose sandals, I am not worthy to stoop down
He tells the crowd that even though he is
seen as powerful, he does not feel worthy to even stoop down and tie the thongs
of the sandals of One who is to come and that’s how powerful the One who
is to come is.
Statement 3: I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the
John lets them know that there is a baptism more
important than water baptism and it is being baptized with the Holy
Spirit which he cannot do but the One who is to come will.
John has prepared the way for the One who is to
(To be continued)
I asked myself what are the implications for
my own life?
What stuck out to me was ‘pointing’. Whatever John did, his mission
became to point others to Jesus. Even when the whole Judean countryside
and all the people of Jerusalem came to him, he was telling them not to
focus on him but the One who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit.
Just as John
pointed others to Jesus, this is what the later Evangelist Billy
Graham did. His mission and purpose in life was to point people to
Jesus and Jesus alone. With that mission and purpose, Graham
preached the Gospel to the ends of the world until God called
him into Heaven. Even though he was 99 years old, he still wanted
everyone to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ because only the Gospel
of Christ can save us. So, at the funeral service of Graham, the
message there too was the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Graham
wanted everyone to know that we need to be saved from the bondage of
sin and death and only Christ's redeeming sacrifice on the cross of
Calvary could accomplish that to all those who would receive Him as
their Lord and Personal Savior. Graham always pointed to the Bible
where Jesus said, "I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one
comes to the Father except through me!"
As I read the
whole Bible in 33 days, Jesus gave me a signature verse that says,
"But life is worth nothing to me unless I use it to do the work
assigned me by the Lord Jesus, the work of telling others about
God's mighty goodness and love." (Acts 20:24)
I want to point
people to Jesus and Jesus alone, for in Him alone we can have
abundant life and access to Heaven.
There is no other Name
that we can be saved except the Name of Jesus. That is why even when
Graham was 99, He continued to preach what the Bible says about
Jesus who loves you so much that He died on the cross to save you
from your sin and came back to life on the 3rd day to give you new
life in Christ if you turn to Him.
I came to know
Jesus because Graham pointed my loving mommy to Jesus while she was
a devout Hindu for 7 years in the U.S. Later, through my mommy, I
came to know Jesus as my Lord and Personal Savior, 7 years later.
The key in all three situations: John the Baptist, Evangelist Billy
Graham, and my mommy was "P.O.I.N.T"
Now as the Pittsburgh Standard is being
published, there is the temptation to want to work on the paper only
when I know a lot of people are coming to it and reading it. The paper is not here to build my ego but the
paper is there to point people to Christ and tackle issues from a
biblical perspective so Christ can be glorified, people can come to the
Lord, and grow in the Lord.
This means even if only one
person is pointed to Christ, gives their life to Him, and is growing in
their faith, it is worth it. Even if only one person looks at any
article, it is worth it if it makes a difference for the glory of the
Lord in their lives.
Whatever our paper does we need to remember that the paper exists to
point people to Christ, promote the principles in Scripture and speak out against non-biblical
principles. The goal being to point others to Christ and His Word here
on earth for lives to be changed and His Name being glorified.
I ask you now dear friend, who do you P.O.I.N.T to
Dear friend, if all you do is point to
yourself, then this passage should lead you in another direction.
John the Baptist pointed people to Christ for a reason and that
reason was because He knew Jesus alone is the Living Water and can
baptize people with the Holy Spirit transforming their lives. Jesus
alone can address the issues of the heart.
Friend, we need to be pointed to Christ because without Christ we
will be a wanderer in the desert surrounded by parched land. Only
Christ can offer the water we need to quench our thirst.
Pointing people to Christ is not just for those we see as good. It
should be especially for those who are committing the same mistakes over
and over. It is for those who loved ones think will never change, so
what's the use. It is for those who are wounded and bruised. It is
also for those that think they have it all together. It is for those
that are thirsty and looking for a way to quench their thirst beyond
Gatorade's physical thirst quenching ability.
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water
will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will
never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring
of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13b-14, NIV)
"Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone
is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as
the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within
him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were
later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since
Jesus had not yet been glorified." (John 7:37b-39, NIV)
Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the
Life. No man comes to the Father except through me!' (John 14:6)
So friend, we need to be pointed to Christ and point others to Christ
because Christ alone can give us the Holy Spirit that can transform our
lives. Yes, we all need transformation because of sin that has
disfigured our relationship with our Creator.
Because of this disfiguration caused by sin, we cannot point
ourselves to Christ but the Good News is that God knew how trapped the
world has been in sin, so God loved the world so
much that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever
believes in Him shall not perish but have Everlasting Life (John 3:16). God sent
Jesus Christ to present us the Gospel so we can be transformed and
changed as we accept what Jesus did on the cross for us.
Jesus died on the cross shedding His precious cleansing blood to wipe
away all our sins so we can have the opportunity to be freed from the
bondage to sin. When Jesus absorbed the sins of humanity upon Himself,
He absorbed the past, present, and future sins.
Absorbing the sins still made humanity empty on the inside until His
precious cleansing blood was taken to be the transfusion of change in a
person's body. When people have received what Jesus did for them on the
cross and allowed His blood to replace the deadly virus known as sin,
then that made the Holy Spirit to reside in that person's heart for
receiving Christ, transforming them.
We point others to Christ because Christ alone has the Words of
Eternal Life. He alone has made the Way for us to reach the Father by
becoming a bridge between us and God. Heaven can only be reached through
Christ alone and His redeeming sacrifice on the cross of Calvary because
God in His holiness cannot allow sin to enter His presence.
Now because of Christ in our lives, when God looks at us He sees the
righteousness of Christ and His blood covering over us so His judgment
will pass over us giving us access to heaven.
Salvation is a free gift of grace given by God for our freedom but
God will not force us to come to Him in repentance and confession.
Christ chose us when He went to the cross to die for our sins that we
may be redeemed but we have to be willing to acknowledge that we need
Jesus Christ in our lives because we have been in bondage to sin so
Christ can come and transform our lives. It starts with repentance and
"If we confess our sins, He can be depended on
to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
May you be drawn to Jesus Christ in your life and receive the Living
Water He offers. May you join a Bible-believing church to be pointed to
Christ and His Word from Genesis to Revelation.
If you have not found a
church, I encourage you to come join me at Oakland
International Fellowship every Sunday morning where our passion is to
know Jesus and make Jesus known throughout the international community.
You do not have to be an international student to be part of OIF.
The church meets at North
Dithridge Street opposite to Webster Hall in Pittsburgh, PA. Prayer
meetings start at 9:00
a.m., Sunday School starts at 10:00 a.m., and worship starts at 11:30 a.m.,
followed by lunch at 12:30 p.m.
When we let Jesus be the focus, He will take
care of the rest! Amen!
"Point Out Immanuel’s Nurturing Truth! (P.O.I.N.T)"/”Who
do you P.O.I.N.T to in life?”
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for opening your Word to us. Your Word has
power to change lives. Though John the Baptist was powerful, he never
let his leadership get the better of him but he was always humble. He
pointed to you and not to himself. Help us do the same please Lord to
point others to your love and affection. Thank you for your servant
Evangelist Billy Graham who lived to tell about you and share the
Gospel. Help us to do the same in word and deed. We depend on you and ask you
for your help. We want to point others to you and you alone. Thank you
for the avenues you give us. Help us. Thank you Oh Lord. In Your
Precious Name I Pray Jesus! Thanks for all you do for us! Amen!
prayer below or use your own words to invite Jesus Christ into your
life and have a personal relationship with Him. Now is the time of
Salvation. Don't wait.
Dear Jesus, I read that you alone can give me access to Heaven and
be delivered from the bondage of sin and death. I want that Lord. I
believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose again to give me
new life. I believe your Blood shed on the cross saves me when I
turn to you. So I turn to you now with all that I am and ask you to
make something of my life for you. Please be my Lord and Personal
Savior. Please come into my heart and make my heart your home. Thank
you Jesus. Thank you for hearing my prayer and answering me. Thank
you for delivering me from my sin as I am sorry. I love you Jesus. I
need you. Help me Jesus! In Your Name I Pray Jesus! Amen!
No matter what you feel in your heart, know that Jesus has come in
and resides with you! You are not alone! To make your walk strong with
the Lord, spend time in prayer talking to Him as you would to a friend.
You don’t need special words to talk to the Lord. Spend time in His Word
reading Psalms and turning them into prayer. Next allow God to heal you
and speak to you through the Gospel of John or Gospel of Mark before
moving on to other Books of the Bible! Slowly, let the Lord show you to
which Scriptures He wants you to go to next. It is also important to be
part of a body of believers to help you grow in the faith. Find a Bible
believing church that preaches the Word of God from Genesis to
Revelation proclaiming Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Lord who
brings us hope, healing, and help!
May the Lord's presence and peace fill you with His love now and
Friend, if you have prayed this prayer and meant it in your heart, you
are a new creation in Christ and all old things are passed away and
everything has become new! You may feel something or may not but don’t
base it on feelings but base your new life in Christ on the promises of
our Savior who will never leave you nor forsake you! Amen!
Feel free to email
if you want to meet to study the Bible, pray with,
talk about Spiritual issues or whatever is on your mind! My number is
"This is my
work and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work
within me." (Colossians 1:29, TLB)