"There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."Jonah bar Zechariah, John, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptizer; Described by the Christ as the greatest man born of woman but least in the Kingdom of Heaven. He was like a flaming arrow that was shot high into the dark night. He died at the hands of a sniveling coward of a king who had him decapitated only to save face before his fellows.
Like his slightly younger cousin, John's birth followed an angelic announcement but where Jesus was born to a fair young virgin, John was born to aged parents and to a mother who was heretofore unable to conceive. He was destined to live his adult life as an ascetic, someone who's appearance might strike fear into the hearts of polite folk.
In the days preceding the public ministry of Christ, his voice thundered across the Jordan Valley, speaking to rich and poor, Jew and Gentile alike; calling them to public repentance and to a Baptism that would be a public emblem of that repentance.
Do we hear him speaking to our lives in this season of preparation and examination? His words call us to repent, and to ask "Would we be ready to meet the Christ if His second Advent were to be fulfilled today?"