Matthew 3:1-12 (NASB)
3 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight!’”
4 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; 6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10 The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
John the Baptist came before Jesus to prepare the way for Him. He called on the people to repent of their sins, and he baptized those who confessed their sins. He warned the Pharisees and Sadducees that trees that didn’t bear fruit would be cut down. During this Advent as we prepare for Christmas, let us confess our sins and repent. Let us ask God to guide us by the Holy Spirit so that we produce good fruit so we will remain standing until the day of Christ’s return.
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge and regret our many sins. Forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Use us to produce good fruit for the coming Kingdom of God. In Jesus’s name. Amen.