Posted on Sat, March 03, 2018 at 10:33 a.m. (EST) & 09:03 p.m. (IST),  MARCH 2018 Edition

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Point Out Immanuel's Nurturing Truth! (P.O.I.N.T)

Ramesh C. Reddy

"And 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 verses 4-8:

  1. John

  2. Whole Judean countryside

  3. All the people of Jerusalem

  4. One more powerful than I

  5. Holy Spirit

I asked myself what I can learn about John from verses 4-8?

1.  John came baptizing in the desert region.
  John came preaching a baptism of repentance.
3. John was able to draw huge crowd towards him.
 John baptized those who first confessed their sins in the Jordan River.
 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair.
 John wore a leather belt around his waist.
 John ate locusts and wild honey.
 John knew he was a messenger.
 John shows his humbleness.
 John was prepared to draw crowds to the One more powerful than he was.

I asked myself what was the significance of each point?

Points 1 & 2:  John came baptizing in the desert region, preaching a baptism of repentance.

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.

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 point 4.

Point 4: 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.

Points 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 them.

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.

Point 9&10: John shows his humbleness by wanting to lead the crowd to someone else.

John does not take the opportunity to boost his own resume, getting excited about all the people that were coming to him. Instead, “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:

  1. After me will come one more powerful than I.

  2. The thongs of whose sandals, I am not worthy to stoop down and tie.

  3. 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 and tie.

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 Holy Spirit.

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 come!

(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 in life?
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 confession.

"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!

Pray the 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 forever! Amen!

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 me at if you want to meet to study the Bible, pray with, talk about Spiritual issues or whatever is on your mind! My number is 412-641-9426

"This is my work and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me." (Colossians 1:29, TLB)

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"Why bother seriously with P.R.O.P.H.E.C.Y everyday?" By Ramesh C. Reddy (Jan 04, 18, 7:19 p.m.)


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