Luke 3:2b ...the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT. 5 ‘EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH; 6 AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’”
John's mission was to prepare the way for Jesus.
This included declaring that the valleys will be filled and the mountains will be made level. We saw this even at his conception and during the time his mother was pregnant with him. The exalted High Priest was brought down and the lowly barren woman was raise up so that when all things evened out, they were equal.
John told the people to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. When they asked what they should do he said:
Luke 3:11 “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
When the tax collectors and soldiers asked what they needed to do he said:
Vs13 “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”
Vs 14b“Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”
John was preparing people's ears to hear the Voice of the Infinite. He told the people in verse 16“As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
John did well in his work and words using them to begin the task pulling people out of the man-made structures that bound and orienting them around to the way God thinks.
And just for good measure, let's jump forward and see what the Infinite has to say about John the Baptist, His forerunner.
Luke7:24 When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written,
‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’
28 I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.
And we see that the regular, lowly people including tax-collectors were orienting themselves to the ways of God, while those of higher status, the Pharisees and lawyers rejected God's way of thinking and clung to their own human structures instead.
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