1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John the Baptist was a forerunner – he came before Jesus announcing that Jesus was coming. Mark’s Gospel starts with a rousing proclamation that gets everyone’s attention and bang we’re into it! John is baptising people for repentance and forgiveness. It was a revival – all of Judea got involved! It was a BIG thing – John looked, by his clothing, and sounded, by his message, like a prophet of old – the Jews would have thought something is really on the move and so as he says ‘get prepared’ people do – they get baptised. Yet notice that John doesn’t draw attention to himself. In fact he draws attention to the one who will follow Him.
I am challenged as I read this passage. How much do I draw attention to myself? Do I draw attention away from Jesus? Do I point people to Jesus? What is my attitude to Jesus, is it like John’s where he did not even think himself worthy of untying Jesus’ sandals?
Father please keep me truly humble and always a signpost to Jesus!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta