Wednesday, April 26, 2017

John the Baptizer: They People Were Tired of the Lies

By Mary Vee
Matthew 3
Mark 1
Luke 3



From John the Baptizer's Notes




Photo by Mary Vee - Desert near the Jordan River
My name is John. I live on my own in the desert and have for some time. I don't need much to survive. My clothes are made from camel's hair, and I have a leather belt. I eat locust and honey. I sleep under the stars.

To live in the desert, one needs a strong personality. I don't take time to say something with flowery words to make people feel good. If God gives me a message to tell, I tell it.

Recently God asked me to tell those who travel through the desert the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah seven hundred years ago.

These are Isaiah's words that I am saying:

A voice of one calling in the desert, 
Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 
Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. 
The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 
And all mankind will see God's salvation.

The more I spoke, the more men and women searched for me in the desert to hear the words. They came from the city of Jerusalem and all parts of Judea. They walked here from all areas of the Jordan. 

They didn't come to hear God's message. They came because it was the popular thing to do. Like I said, I didn't say things in a feel good way. God asked me to tell the people what they did wrong, so I did.

This was the message God gave me to say to the crowds:
"What do you think you're doing slithering down to the river to be baptized by me. Do you really think the water poured on your snake skin will save you from God's wrath? This is not a parade or contest. God wants men and women who have changed lives.

"Don't give excuses why you should be here. You say you are a son or daughter of Abraham so you have the right. This means nothing more than the clothes you wear. Wood that is dead deserves to be thrown on the fire. 

Your life is what needs to change and when you life is changed so that you obey God, then you can come to be baptized and show the people who stand on the shores your devotion to God.

The people who listened said to me, "What should we do?"

The look on their faces showed they really didn't understand. I took a breath and said, "If you have two coats and you see someone who doesn't have a coat, give them one of yours. Do the same with your food." 

Some tax men came to the waters where I stood to baptize those who had changed their lives. They said, "What should we do to show we want to change our lives?"

I answered them in all truth, "Quit stealing from the people. Collect only the taxes that are due."

Next some soldiers came and asked me, "What should we do to show we want to change our lives?"

Again I answered them in all truth, "Don't bully the people. Don't take their things that you want. Don't steal their money or accuse someone of a wrong they didn't do."

You know how sometimes you have a taste for healthy food instead of the bad food? I think that is what was happening here. The people were tired of the lies and ridiculous rules given by the priests and government. 

They came back to hear the words because they just wanted to hear the truth. 


Come back for the next story.

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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary

Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org

*My research in Israel.

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