The preaching of John the Baptist
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.”
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.