When people look at you what do they see?
When they looked at John the Baptist what did they see?
“John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” (Matthew 3 v 4)
850 years previously wicked King Ahaziah had injured himself but instead of seeking God he sent messengers to a false god, Baal-Zebub and along the way they met a man who denounced the king with judgment. Later when the king sent 50 soldiers with a captain on 2 separate occasions this same man brought fire from heaven down to consume them. Who was this man? Well before we find that out let’s read some verses but remember what John the Baptist is wearing.
2 Kings 1 v 7-8 “The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?” They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”
“John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist.”
So here comes John. Matthew says he is the voice that Isaiah the prophet spoke about and he came looking like the prophet Elijah. But there’s more.
Remember this? “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. …“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.” (Joel 2 v 13, 25) God sent the locusts as a sign of judgment. They are destructive even today wiping out the entire year’s crops in split seconds. The message from the prophet Joel was if you repent and turn to me then I will restore and repay you.
“His food was locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 3 v 4)
And what of the honey? Every Jew knows about the honey. When their ancestors were freed they were promised a land flowing with milk and honey.
John looked the part.
Matthew will record Jesus’ words later: ““What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. .” (Matthew 11:7,9)
The outward appearance is important for someone who is a voice calling in the wilderness.
Malachi said Elijah would come again and John certainly looked like him.
The voice of repentance had to have the appearance of rejecting what the world could offer to support its claims.
It is important for us also. Not that we have to walk around looking like John the Baptist! But our voice and our lifestyle needs to match.