There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
John the Baptist sounded like he was a wild and crazy guy. He had wandered in from out of the wilderness wearing camel’s hair and a leather belt and eating locusts and honey. Even crazier than that, he started to plunge people into the river saying it would purify them.
Who does that?
But then John began talking about someone greater than all; someone, he said, whom he was not even worthy of tying his shoes. John testified to this man:
“I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32 – 34)
Now John had gone too far. He had proclaimed that the greatest man on earth was a common man named Jesus. Herod, the ruler of the world was enraged at this repudiation of his supremacy. He sent his soldiers to arrest John and throw him into prison.
While in prison, John asked his friends if they would go to Jesus and ask him if he was the one chosen by God to bring salvation to the world. Jesus replied:
“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:4)
Then Jesus asserts the glory of heaven saying:
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11)
This was the truth that John the Baptist had committed his life: to forsake the trappings of the world for the eternal riches of God’s love in heaven. This was the devotion and humility John displayed to Jesus when he said about the Savior:
“He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
The day came when Herod had had enough of John and his persistent affirmations about Jesus as the Son of God. He finally gave the order. His soldiers dutifully complied and presented Herod with the head of John the Baptist on a plate.
John lived to bring the message of the coming of Jesus Christ. He died to gain God’s eternal love in heaven.
Not so crazy, after all.
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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