John the Baptizer never left an evangelistic stone unturned. In addition to speaking to the common people and their hypocritical (spiritual) leaders, John also preached to and evangelized soldiers. In Luke 3:14-16, 18 we read:
Likewise, the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages. Now as all the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire… And with many other exhortations he preached to the people.
We might ask, “Why were the soldiers there in the first place?” Perhaps they were there to keep order or to see what was drawing a crowd to the river. They were very likely just doing their jobs as soldiers. And as part of the crowd, they heard John preach about the Christ, subsequently asking, “What shall we do?”
John the Baptizer told them to do three things. In addition to sharing the Gospel, these are actions that we can model for soldiers in our outreach to them:
– Do not intimidate anyone.
– Do not accuse falsely.
– Be content with your wages.
The Bible also gives us details about how some soldiers were impacted by the Gospel:
– The centurion who Jesus said had great faith (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:2-10)
– The soldiers who confessed, “Jesus is the Son of God… a righteous Man,” (by the centurion and others in Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47)
– Cornelius, the centurion, who sent for Peter, then heard the Gospel and believed, and as a result saw his whole family saved (Acts 10, note the devout soldier in 10:7)
No one walks away from hearing the Good News without making some type of decision, including soldiers. May God find us faithfully telling our military men and women about the Christ… about Jesus and His love, forgiveness, and saving power.