Commands of Jesus for His Bride According to the Gospel of John

Jun 4, 2024 | by Captain Kristin Coriston

Commands of Jesus for His Bride

According to the Gospel of John

Captain Kristin Coriston

Corps Officer

Midland, Texas

John the Baptist has always been one of the most intriguing biblical figures to me: his clothing, his wilderness dwelling, and his peculiar diet were all unique. As I studied John the Baptist and looked deeply into his birth story and life, I was reminded how nothing about him is ordinary. Likewise, Salvationists are not ordinary. We have our own way of “being” –  special clothing, flags, and itinerant dwelling places. We too, are unique. And yet, John’s calling to be one that “prepares the way for the Lord” was not. Many came before and after him, called to do and be the same thing, challenging those around them to make ready their hearts and repent. Each Christian is also called to “prepare the way for the Lord.” Today, though, we proclaim that Christ has come, is risen and that He will be coming again.

John the Baptist’s life was characterized by surrender, faithfulness, and boldness. His ministry was incredibly fruitful. He unabashedly called people to be baptized – that is to repent and believe. The Gospel of John tells us that the religious leaders sent priests and Levites to question John the Baptist, not sure who or what he was. Matthew’s gospel adds that upon their arrival, John called them a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 3:7), knowing they were unfaithful and uninterested in repentance. According to apologist Craig Keener, there was a tradition in those times that the babies of vipers killed their mothers when they were born, meaning that they weren’t living up to their spiritual legacy. What an incisive critique of those who were supposed to know better.

John the Baptist’s lived faithfully as he shared his message to the Jews – those who had been taught and raised to look for the coming of the Messiah. As we look at his life, there are a few things to take and hide in our hearts. 

Prepared Hearts

First, to embody the spirit of John the Baptist, we must prepare our hearts for our King of kings and each live a life of daily repentance, making every morning a new opportunity to rise in Christ and put on His righteousness. Many of us carry heaviness. The managing, the mediating, the mental load of it all. It can be far too easy to forget to surrender each moment to our Savior, and yet we must, for our fruitfulness will in part be determined by our faithfulness. It is imperative that we order our lives in accordance with God’s Word, just as John the Baptist did. This alone will relieve us of many struggles and unnecessary burdens. To surrender is to recognize that we are not the masters of our lives. As James 4:7-10 says, ”Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Preach the Word

After we address our hearts each day, we must get on with the business of preaching God’s Word faithfully and boldly. To do that, we must study and know what the Bible says, so that we can proclaim it. It can be assumed that pastors and those in ministry can easily find time to study God’s Word, but we’re each aware of the reality of our bi-vocational days: emails, projects, reports, preparing for Sunday, family time, school, sickness, and on and on. If we are what we say we are – God’s children and His beloved bride – we will obey Him and read His Word. We cannot hope to be fruitful in ministry if we do not. Just as the Pharisees and Sadducees ought to have known better, let us not be in danger of empty Sunday morning messages and weak praise. We have a spiritual legacy far too beautiful for that. I encourage you to make the time for Him in whatever season you are in. God is so good and gracious with us; He knows right where we’re at.

Calling Others

Finally, as we examine our hearts, we must ask ourselves how we are being faithful to call others to prepare the way for the Lord and to repentance. John the Baptist did not shrink from the truth when the crowds came, fearful of what they would think and how they would respond. He did not cower when religious leaders came, concerned that he would receive bad press or lose funding. The world we live in is hostile towards Christians, and it can be all too easy to let someone else stand up for the truth. However, when I look at John the Baptist’s life, I’m in awe of how his uniqueness was used as a platform to tell others a difficult but beautiful truth. In a similar way, The Salvation Army has a rich history of doing the same thing. I fear, though, in some ways we have let others be responsible for calling people to be prepared for when Jesus returns. William Booth warned that “the chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” These dangers have all come to fruition – even in our own ranks. Are we faithful to speak the truth and call others to repentance when there’s a crowd present, even a familiar crowd? Or the media? Or other religions? Are we willing to surrender and stake our very lives on this calling, just as John the Baptist did?

The call to speak about Jesus’ return and proclaim repentance is a universal one for every Christian. Gone are the days when the advice to simply “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words” is all that must be done. Surely, our lives will testify to whom we follow, but with the cultural climate we now live in, we must also be vocal to share the full truth with others. When our hearts are relieved of striving, when we surrender and rest in Him, when we know His Word intimately, we will faithfully and bravely stand for Him. I wonder if you will commit to living a John the Baptist life, one that is steadfast and bold? I wonder if our Army will call out the brood of vipers rather than be one?

Our Corporate Prayer

Dear Lord, help me to look at the examples of servants of Yours like John the Baptist. Although I don't need to dress like him or eat like him, I can follow You wholeheartedly as he did. Help me to speak for You boldly, to live for You fearlessly, to love You so intensely that my desire to please You exceed everything else. Thank You for whatever this day brings. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting
United Kingdom & Ireland Territory

Thinking It Through


How do you think John the Baptist would appear in the 21st Century? Would people listen? Would he end up with the same fate? What kind of approach is likely to be most effective today?

Notable Quotables

"It takes a man of God, with the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, to make the children of God, for the glory of God." - Jack Wellman



Now in closing, let's accept the challenge to "Stand Up for Jesus." 


We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to: or by going to our website:
We would love to hear from you.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory

Recent Stories

Related Content: Spiritual Life Development

Get Involved

A gift to The Salvation Army helps someone in your community.

Give Now



Do Good in your community

Find Worship

Join us throughout the week for worship, fellowship, Bible study, meals, community service and fun.