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John the baptist announces arrival of jesus
Based on Is 40:1-5, 9-11; 2 Pt 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8
He lived in the desert. He wore clothes made of camel’s hair, which is hot, itchy and uncomfortable for someone living in the desert. He ate locusts and wild honey. He had a long, scraggly beard. He was the last and greatest prophet (messenger) who announced the arrival of the Messiah. He was John the Baptist.
As we read the Bible, we learn God often used messengers to deliver his messages to people. In the Old Testament, the prophets, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, told the Hebrew people (also called the Israelites, the Jews or the Chosen People) about the coming of Jesus the Messiah. They didn’t know when Jesus would arrive, but they told the people to love and honor God and love others in preparation for the Messiah’s coming.
Actually, the Hebrews waited hundreds of years for Jesus the Messiah. None of the prophets or leaders, like Moses or Abraham, in the Old Testament saw the birth of the Messiah. Yet, they always tried to be ready for his coming.
This Sunday, we hear about John the Baptist – Jesus’ cousin – as one of God’s messengers. Many people went to the Jordan River to listen to John. When John baptized the people in the river, it was a sign their sins were washed away and they could begin living a new life by showing love for God and others by their words and actions. John’s message about Jesus is so important all four Gospels tell us about it.
Many of the people wondered who John was. They asked if they should follow him. John said, “No, I am only a messenger. Jesus, the Savior, will be here soon. You should follow him.”
It’s the second week of Advent and one week closer to Christmas. Are you getting your heart ready for Jesus? How about doing something special for someone each day from now until Christmas? Help Mom and Dad take a meal to a homeless shelter. Smile more often; smiles bring blessings to others. Don’t forget prayer, confession and Communion.
Watch. Wait. Be ready. Jesus is coming.