John the Baptist
24 June 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 1:6-9 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:6–9 NLT)
The Fullness of Time. The right time had come. For about four hundred years, since the OT prophets who spoke during the rebuilding of the Temple and the city during and following Nehemiah’s time, it seemed God had been mostly silent. Nations rose and fell, empires came and went, now Rome securely ruled the known world. Israel had mostly lived under the rule of foreign emperors for four centuries.
The Jewish religion had segmented into “denominations.” Most familiar to us are the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the Zealots, but there were others. Puppet King Herod, who ruled as a vassal of Rome, had rebuilt the Temple again. The religious leaders of the Jews, Herod and his officials, and the Roman governor had a sometimes fragile but mostly workable relationship. There were many faithful believers among the Jews who worked within or outside of the somewhat corrupt Temple system. The faithful Jews were looking forward to a Messiah, a Savior, who would rise from within Judaism and restore Israel to power and glory.
And now, the time was right! As prophesied hundreds of years earlier, God sent his Messiah, and he sent a messenger to “Prepare the Way of the Lord”! John the Baptist, son of the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, and a cousin of Jesus, was the prophet of repentance and preparation. John was raised in Judea and mostly influenced by the Essenes, and Jesus was raised in Galilee and most likely taught by Pharisees. John and Jesus likely had contact with each other as they grew up.
When John began his ministry, his message and his methods quickly drew crowds and attention. People flocked from all over the country to hear his message of repentance and to be baptized by him in the Jordan. Included in those crowds were several men who would become followers of Jesus and Jesus himself. John never spoke of himself, but always directed the attention to “The One” who would come very soon!
Father, Thank you for John the Baptist. He’s a real hero to me. I so respect him for his focus on his mission and message and for never drawing attention to himself!