Luke 3:16 creates the setting; a crowd gathering aside the Jordan River. Soldiers, tax collectors and the common crowd---beggars and poor, are attracted by the word about town. Redemption awaits.
They jostle for space staring at John the Baptist; unkempt, dressed in wild looking rags---they flutter in the wind. His eyes are burning, honey matted in his graying beard. His eyes raise up, seeking confirmation for what he is about to do.
Oh, it is easy to dispense wisdom to an anxious crowd. To the taxpayers he shouts, “Be fair in your dealings.” To the soldiers, “Be merciful.” And to others in the crowd he pleads contentment in their lives. One by one they come to him, and he prays over their failures, their inhibitions, their sinful ways. And the water blesses them, overcomes the past and encourages their future.
“Are you the Messiah?” they ask, astonished at the words he calls upon them. A newness in their spirit dares to wonder, as it was foretold. Is he the Messiah, they exhult in their hearts?
And John the Baptist replies, “One is yet to come and I am not worthy to tie his sandals.” Words are spoken so all can hear. He is only a common man, in destiny’s path. He has been chosen to bless He who has yet to come. And He does, standing there, alone---The King of Kings---The Lamb of Judah. And he is not surrounded by an entourage of guardsman, nor banners of position. He carries no golden trappings. He is as man among men, a son who has also come to be baptized.
And it does take place. John the Baptist has been appointed for this task; a simple man chosen for a divine happening. As Jesus receives, a thunder captures the ear of all within reach, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” All understand the Messiah is among them. Jesus now begins His journey.
© Richard L. Provencher