Monday, February 13, 2012

John the Baptist

"Jesus' Baptism"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Digital painting, Corel Painter

I like John the Baptist.  It sounds like his personality is a driver, I'm half driver and half expressive.  He has a vision; he's going to make it happen.  No distractions.  A single focus. That's it.  The Bible doesn't describe his time in the wilderness.  It's a place photographers love to go.  He must've seen some great sunrises and sunsets.  The stars would've been breathtaking.  What a wonderful place to spend with God to experience His hand in creation.  The other side is that the winters were cold. The winds were strong. He didn't have any people with him for years.  He had faith and obeyed God.

He lived like Samson, who had taken the Nazarite Vow.  He separated himself from others to prepare for serving God.  He didn't drink wine or eat grapes.  He was not permitted to use a razor.  This would mean his hair and beard were very long.  He was also not permitted to go near a dead body.  The time for the vow was between 30 days and a lifetime.

Josephus, a Roman-Jewish historian documented the popularity of John the Baptist.  He wrote during this time period and confirmed many things in the Bible are true.  I know these things are true in my heart.  But, what a blessing to know a historian captured some of this.

John 1

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

Here we go.  John is out preaching repentance and baptizing people.  A lot of Jews were baptized and repented.  The Pharisees (temple leaders) got nervous.  I can understand this.  I get nervous when I hear about people using Jesus' Name, to create a new religion.

20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

John was very clear about his purpose and answered them directly.

21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
They confronted John, "Who are you anyway?" 
I've heard that during this time period, many men claimed to be the Messiah.  Some were crazy, and some were seeking selfish things.  But John was genuine.   It's sad to become so focussed on others.  It would be a huge mistake to miss Jesus' second coming by being skeptical.  God was providing the Messiah in their midst, it just wasn't logical to them.  This scruffy, bearded man was capturing the attention of many.  They were uncomfortable and wanted it to stop.  If they had only been focussed on God instead.  But this plan was worked out by God long ago.  He knew how it would go.
Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

23 He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
John is quoting a prophecy from Isaiah 40:3.  He isn't confused or swayed by the questions.  He may have even expected it to happen.  He's a driver, this is it period.

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John's response is great, "You haven't seen anything yet! I'm just baptizing with water."  Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit. : )

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

I don't know if John the Baptist had seen Jesus while they were growing up.  What a wonderful surprise, his cousin is the Messiah.  The Son of God.  He had no idea.  It must've been so awesome for John.  He'd made such a sacrifice, trusted when he didn't feel like it, endured so much. On this day, he sees the Messiah in person.  We'll see Him face to face too one day!  The Pharisees must've become even more nervous.

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.

The disciple Matthew, wrote:

And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Matthew 3:17
The trinity is present in one place before man, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The One God.


  1. Amen! Thank God for sending Jesus as an expression of His love for us! Forever grateful and in love with him! :D