Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mark 1:4-8

4 John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5 Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He announced,
“One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John, the Baptizer, established his operation out in the wilderness area. He called on people to make a change in the way that they lived and thought. He encouraged them to receive God's forgiveness for their sins. And then to prove that they were serious about the whole thing, he told them that they needed to be baptized (just like the people who were joining the religion for the first time -- starting life all over again. Humbling.).

Somehow, all of this turned John into a rock star in the eyes of the people. It seemed that everyone in Judea was coming out for the show. So, as they met him down at the Jordan River and confessed their sins, John baptized them.

John even dressed the part of a prophet. Taking a cue from the great prophet Elijah, his camel hair clothing was held in place by a leather belt. The baptizer's diet consisted of locust and honey gathered from the wild.

However, in spite of his showmanship, John wanted to make it clear that the show wasn't really about him. The main point of his looping sermon was that someone even more powerful than him was on the way. He was only the warm-up act and the next guy was so great that he, John, wasn't even worthy to remove his sandals. (Attending to the feet was the lowliest of low jobs that a servant might have to do.) John said, I am baptizing with river water but the one to follow will be baptizing people with the Holy Spirit.