My name is John. According to my parents, my birth was a miracle. My mother was past bearing and my father was also quite old. An angel appeared to my father while he was serving as priest in the temple and told him he was going to have a son. My father couldn’t believe this good news and so was struck dumb by the angel until my birth. The angel also gave him my name, and when he wrote it on a tablet at my birth, his tongue was loosened and he prophesied saying that I was to go before the LORD and prepare his way.
I didn’t have many playmates when I was growing up. Sometimes my mother’s cousin, Mary, and my little cousin, Jesus, would pay us a visit. Jesus and I played together and always got along well. In my teenage years, I began to feel the call of the LORD God upon my life in a very special way. I felt I had to go somewhere to be alone with God, so I went out into the wilderness. As I prayed and became quiet before the LORD, I began to have a very real consciousness of sin, first in my own life and then in the lives of those around me. I repented of my own sins– sins of thought and attitude mostly. When I did so, I felt a real sense of the presence of the LORD. I prayed and asked him to help others to repent as I had. It was then that he told me he had called me for that purpose. I was to go and cry out to the people, telling them to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. As I preached, many were touched and came forward to register repentance. Then, my Lord showed me that this was not enough. I was to baptize all of those who registered sincere repentance. All of this was new to me. But I followed the LORD’s leading at every point. He began to also impress upon me that my preaching and baptism was to serve only as a preparation for, or fore-running of, the one who was to come, the true Messiah. Somehow I had the feeling that it was to be none other than he with whom I had played as a child.
There were many months of preaching and baptizing and expectant waiting for the Messiah to appear. Then finally the glorious day came and my childhood playmate, now fully grown, was standing before me asking to be baptized. Sensing in my soul that he was the Messiah, I hesitated. How could I, a mere human, baptize God’s anointed? But he bade me not to fear, and told me to do it in order “to fulfill all righteousness.” When I did, a dove appeared above his head and a voice from heaven rang out, saying, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” I was elated. I had just baptized the Messiah, who was also God’s son, and God had shown him to be so openly.
Since that day, nothing has been the same. I live in the memory of that day and its glory. Yet, I have a sort of anti-climactic feeling. I continue to preach, calling people to repent. I continue to baptize. But somehow, I wonder why. He has come now. He has been manifested. Of what more use am I? The crowds are dwindling. My message is old and growing trite, and I am getting older and growing tired. But somehow I also realize that my ministry is not yet through. My work of pointing men to the Messiah cannot be ended until the LORD God wills it. When that happens, he will let me know somehow. So be it. If it is his will that I continue, I must continue.
But perhaps it might be better if I moved on to another location. It seems that people here are getting tired of me and my message. Anyway, there aren’t really any big sinners around here. What I need is something really big to preach against– some outrageous sin or scandal of some sort. If I had something like that, I’m sure I would feel more inspired and attract more people. Let me see. If I were to go to Tiberius, where King Herod lives, surely I could find something big there to speak out against. I think it’s not too far from here, and I could preach on the way. Yes, that’s it! I’ll start for Tiberius in the morning. Perhaps this is the LORD’s leading.
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