1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
John’s choice of location is odd—why not head for the city, where you can be assured that a good number of people will be around to hear your message? Instead, he appeared in the wilderness. Yet the message he preached drew people out to him in the wilderness, drew them to confession and to baptism. His message bore fruit, yet he always realized “the one who is more powerful than I is coming after me.” The announcement of that coming one had a power that overcame many obstacles, that drew people out of their comfort zones into a new place, and that created a movement thought impossible. Simple words—yet words laden with power and possibilities. Can we hear those words today?
We thank you, Lord, that your word comes and creates a new reality. Amen.