Friday, October 9, 2009

Matthew 3: 1-2

If I hadn't grown up in a religious home with a steady biblical diet, I have no doubt I'd find a lot about the Bible strange. Including the name John the Baptist. It took a long time before I realized that the stories weren't about some guy named John Thebaptist. The Baptist...what an odd title. I wonder if they had entries for those kind of people...
  • Son: Hey, Mum, do you know the number for someone who might dunk me under water in a symbolic gesture?
  • Mum: Sorry, Son. Try the Yellow Pages.
  • Son: What should I look under?
  • Mum: Try B. Look for a Baptist.
See? No one uses that word anymore!
Matthew 3:3-6

John's audience were ready and willing to hear what he had to say; they'd had 400 years of silence, during which there had been no prophets.
Instead of repelling them with his strange fashion sense (fur coats and leather belts) and odd diet (locust and honey sandwiches), he attracted them, and they came to him from all over the countryside.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all quote Isaiah 40:3, which foretold John preparing the way for the Lord, and making 'straight paths for him.' John preached that the preparation was to be made through repentance of sins.

When a king visited a country, the roads would be worked on, and improved in readiness for his coming. The Messiah, Anointed One, was coming! So the people had to get ready. They did so by coming in hordes to John, confessing their sins, and being baptized by him in the Jordan River.

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