[1.4-6] John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
Lord Jesus--I am thinking about John and his short, Spirit filled life/prophetic life. His life and his message were the same for him. John's fashion statement was just that...a part of his message. It was a part of his presentation as well as his diet.
The people saw something in John...what was it? They saw that he was using many of the same themes and rituals. They were used to the need to be ritualistically cleansed and the need for repentance. But he presented it uniquely in the wilderness away from the temple and all that it represented. The people knew that his desire for repentance had nothing to do with making his living. The parallel could not be missed with Elijah...and his message. Repentance in the middle of apostate religious and national leadership.
The people were looking for something that would speak to their soul need...they looked to the values of the past in the context of the time that they found themselves.They saw in John authenticity...a person whose life and message were of one piece with his relationship to you. He was the best of what they saw worship and relationship with God to be, lived out in real life.
Beyond the prophetic themes of national repentance and judgement, there was the reminder to the people of their personal need. Change is possible...in the middle of transitioning times when it seems that the purposes of God are in question. Faithfulness to the message is possible for regular people not just scholars and the elite. In fact faithfulness starts right here in this river...with the mud of the real world between my toes.
Lord Jesus--That is really what you call me to isn't? Live the message...be the message...change is possible...everyone can live out the call of God. The Highway built by God that Isaiah preached about runs by my door and though my heart. All that I have to do is open the door and remember to stay within the guardrails.
It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
Tolkien, J.R.R. (2009-04-17). The Lord of the Rings (p. 74). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
Lord Jesus--Today, Help me to be the message in the middle of the mix...with grace and hope lived out in the real world. Give me the grace to keep my sense of direction today fixed on you.
Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (p. 1791). NavPress. Kindle Edition.