"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
The book of Deuteronomy is a call to obedience--the proper response to God's faithfulness and love. Consisting primarily of speeches that Moses gave to the Israelites shortly before they entered the Promised Land, Moses' words proclaimed God's covenant faithfulness in hopes of motivating the Israelites to obey God despite the coming temptation to conform to the Canaanite culture.
The challenges they faced then are remarkably parallel to those facing Christians today as we grapple with the issue of obedience in a world that offers other attractive ways of life. We wonder: How can we be faithful to God? And how do we help our children and the people we lead to be faithful? This book tells us how Moses tackled these challenges and, as Paul confirms in the New Testament, Deuteronomy serves "as an example...written down for our instruction" (1 Cor. 10:11).
Ajith Fernando unpacks the relevance of Deuteronomy and captivates us with rich anecdotes from his thirty-five years of ministry to first-generation Christians in Sri Lanka. He offers concrete examples of how the truths contained in Deuteronomy can be applied, and he teaches us that obedience is the necessary response to the God who loves and saves us.