The first revival was held outdoors without a tent by a river called the Jordan. It was conducted by a fiery, unconventional prophet by the name of John, who was calling people to repent and be baptized because the kingdom of heaven was near. And people came from Jerusalem, all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley to see and hear John. “And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.” (Matthew 3:6) And they kept on coming, not only because of John, but because God was drawing them. People came in droves from all over. This was an unprecedented move of God and people everywhere were convicted. This is what a revival is: a move of God upon the hearts of people.
Turns out Isaiah spoke of John centuries before when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for Him!” (Matthew 3:3; Isaiah 40:3) Christ the Messiah was coming; get yourself right with God!
There was another audience coming as well, but for entirely different reasons. The Pharisees and Sadducees — the Jewish religious leaders of the day — came out to watch. They didn’t come for personal reasons, they came for religious and political reasons. Who was this “prophet” and why was he so popular? They were not convicted; they were skeptical. In their eyes they were already right with God because of their good works. They were just jealous. And John said of them, “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (Matthew 3:7-8) The Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t come to be baptized; they didn’t want to get their robes wet. They came to judge.
The people didn’t just come to see something; they came participate. They came out of need. They knew they were sinners and needed to get right with God. For the people this was personal; for the religious leaders it was political.
Every revival since has had the same people in attendance. Those who come because of their own need to have more of God’s presence in their lives, and those who come to observe or even disprove of what is going on. Who are you? We encourage you to check your motives for coming tonight and to come out of need and great anticipation.
Look at the world and the church and agree with us: we need a fresh wind of the Spirit. We need a reawakening. We need to be revived. Participate with your heart and your spirit and we will see what the Lord does!
Join us at 6pm Pacific tonight using this link for a revival session of our own via zoom with special guest: Barry McGuire.