Pay attention because I’m sending my messenger as the advanceman. In preparation for the arrival he will raise his powerful voice to clear the way through the wilderness. His message will be:4 Of course, we’re talking about John the Baptizer, who from his wilderness pulpit was calling people to be baptized as a means of demonstrating that they had a complete change of heart and that they wanted God to forgive them of their sins.
“Get everything ready for the Lord! He’s coming! So straighten things up for him.”
5 He was a big deal and everyone in Judea -- including all the people of Jerusalem -- took the 20-mile hike out to the Jordan River. That’s where John was baptizing people as they confessed their sins.
6 Reminiscent of the ancient and hairy prophet Elijah, John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His diet consisted of grasshoppers and wild honey. 7 In short, this was the message that he preached, “It’s not about me. Someone more powerful than I will be coming after me. Frankly, I’m not even in the same league. I’m unworthy to function as his slave -- stooping over to unstrap his sandals. 8 I’m baptizing you with water, washing away your old life to replace it with a kingdom-of-God-defined life. He, on the other hand, will baptize you with the Holy Spirit -- the powerful, purifying presence of God himself.”