The preach­ing of John the Bap­tist

Manila Bulletin - - Editorial -

LUKE 3:1-6

IN the fif­teenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cae­sar, when Pon­tius Pi­late was gov­er­nor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the re­gion of Itu­raea and Tra­choni­tis, and Lysa­nias was tetrarch of Abi­lene, dur­ing the high priest­hood of An­nas and Ca­iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. He went through­out the whole re­gion of the Jor­dan, pro­claim­ing a bap­tism of re­pen­tance for the for­give­ness of sins, as it is writ­ten in the book of the words of the prophet Isa­iah:

A voice of one cry­ing out in the desert: “Pre­pare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Ev­ery val­ley shall be filled and ev­ery moun­tain and hill shall be made low. The wind­ing roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the sal­va­tion of God.”

RE­FLEC­TION

NEW LIFE. Baruch is of­fer­ing new life to the city of Jerusalem. As for­mer ex­iles to Baby­lon, the peo­ple of Jerusalem can be com­pared to a woman whose mourn­ing is about to end. Not only will the veil cov­er­ing her face be lifted, but she will be sur­prised by an un­ex­pected gift. She will turn to be­come al­most like a queen!

She will be given a cloak and a crown. She will be­come known to the ends of the world and brought on top of the hill. She will wit­ness, from that van­tage point, the joy­ful re­turn of her chil­dren from east to west. As the lady is seated on the throne, she will wit­ness the won­der­ful changes in na­ture. The moun­tains and hills will be lev­eled. The val­leys will be filled in. Fruit trees will pro­vide them with shade, and they will re­joice in the eter­nal glory of God.

Baruch’s prophecy com­ple­ments that of Isa­iah. God will re­store his peo­ple to free­dom, and their lives will pros­per through the min­istry of John the Bap­tist. Through­out the whole re­gion of the Jor­dan, John preaches re­pen­tance and turn­ing away from sin. He is dressed in camel’s hair and feeds on grasshop­pers and lo­custs. John looks very dif­fer­ent from those in the crux of his­tory — em­peror, gov­er­nor, the tetrarch, and chief priests dressed in royal robes — and those cling­ing to po­si­tions of honor and power.

In writ­ing to the Philip­pi­ans, Paul prays that the new Chris­tians will sur­pass one an­other in love. The apos­tle wants them to choose the most im­por­tant thing. In the Gospel, John the Bap­tist un­der­scores re­pen­tance and turn­ing away from sin to be the most im­por­tant. In this way, they can re­turn to the Lord and re­ceive new life from him.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philip­pines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Web­site: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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