“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’” Luke 3:1-6
John had a job. He was the front man. He went ahead and prepared the way. He laid down a foundation for the main event. He brought people to the table for the main course, but he wasn’t it, and he knew it. He knew he was there to tell. He knew he was there to preach. He knew he was there to warn. He knew he had been sent to prepare. It was a big job.
And he was an odd character. His clothes were simple, camel’s hair. His diet was simple, locusts dipped in honey. His message was simple but infinitely profound, “Repent!” His life was uncomplicated by the world’s standards of wealth and prosperity because he owned very little, needed very little, lived in the wilderness with very little. But John the Baptist had a big life.
His birth had been miraculous. An angel had announced it.
Angel birth announcement, yep, he could have gotten a lot of mileage out of that one. “Hey, remember me, I’m the guy the angel Gabriel talked about to my dad.” That could have defined his life.
His parents had been old, too old for child bearing and rearing. His birth was tabloid stuff and it could have defined him.
John’s upbringing did not define him. His odd clothes did not define him. His meager diet did not define him. His different life did not define him.
God defined John the Baptist. God announced years before that John would be the voice of one crying in the wilderness. John came in the power of the prophet Elijah who would turn hearts toward God. It was a big, huge, mammoth job and God had called him to it even from before birth and John followed.
John didn’t live in the past. He lived to serve God. He delivered a forward message. The Messiah was coming, and the message of that One was of utmost importance.
Get ready to listen.