“How much bigger do you think these crowds will get?” Andrew was looking at the gathering of people forming a line to the Jordan River.
John helped an elderly woman into the water so the Baptizer could perform his task as she wished. “I don’t know. Who’d think so many folks would want to get dunked like this. This is crazy.”
Andrew watched the old woman come out of the water with a smile on her face. “I remember being impressed by the few dozen people who came out here to be baptized when we first became John’s disciples. I never dreamed it would grow into this. Do you think we’ll ever go back to fishing?”
“I’m sure our families are wondering the same thing.”
“When do you think someone important from Jerusalem will finally show up?”
John stared at some men dressed in linen on the far bank of the river. “I think they just got here.”
The crowd hushed as one of the men spoke up. “Who are you that you come baptizing these people?”
John, the Baptizer, lifted a man out of the river. “I am not the Messiah.”
“Are you Elijah, then?”
“No, I am neither of them.”
“Who, then? Give us an answer so we can tell those who sent us.”
John lowered another woman into the waters and lifted her up. “Go and repent of your sins.” He looked at the men. “I am merely the one whose voice is calling in the wilderness, ‘make straight the road for the Lord.'”
“Why, then, do you baptize if you’re not anyone to be expected?”
John scooped water from the river in his hands. “I baptize with water to prepare people for the One among you who came before me. I’m not even worthy to touch his sandals, but, you don’t even recognize Him. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit of God.”
The next day John stopped his baptisms and stared at a man walking northward across the river from him. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. I didn’t know Him when He came to be baptized, but, when He came out of the water I saw a dove, the symbol I was told to look for, descending from heaven and landing on Him. I told Him I should be the one being baptized by Him. Jesus said, ‘this is needed to fulfill all righteousness.’ I heard a voice come from heaven, ‘this is My Son in whom I am well pleased.'”
Andrew and his young friend John crossed the river to get a closer look at this man as the Baptizer was speaking.
As Jesus walked past the Baptizer was standing behind the two men. “Behold, the Lamb of God. He must increase while I decrease.”
A slight push was all it took to send the two men to their appointed destinies.
Can you imagine being a disciple of both John the Baptist and Jesus? Andrew and John got the distinction of having that honor. I’ve heard it suggested the John was possibly a teenager when he started following Jesus. That’s why I included this account here.
Andrew would be responsible for introducing his brother, Simon, to Jesus. He’s the man whom Jesus changed his name to Peter. Yeah, a lot of memories would be built from that relationship.
John would draw in his brother, James. These sons of Zebedee would join Peter as the only three witnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration; and the three Jesus kept closest to Him at the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. A special bond was obviously made there.
So, what was it that set these men apart from so many others? Why were they drawn to these non-religious, spiritual leaders?
Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Perhaps their boyhood lessons centered around the Prophet Daniel’s writings that showed the time to be near for the Messiah to begin His ministry. Maybe they were fed up with the ever-increasing list of regulations the religious leaders of Jerusalem were burdening God’s people with.
Whatever it was these two couldn’t be satisfied by merely following the family business as was expected of them. Their time called for a few men to step out of the ordinary so they did. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into, but they were all in.
This young man who would become the Apostle John was particularly all in. He would be the man Jesus gave the responsibility of His mother, Mary, to at the crucifixion. He’d also be the man God gave the prophetic book we call Revelation to on the Isle of Patmos near the end of his earthly life.
I’m sure he had no idea all that was coming. He simply followed in obedience to the Spirit’s leading.
So, how about you? Are you tired of following the strict standards of the legalistic teachings of some heavy-handed churches out there. Are you also sick of being spoon fed shallow soup of the “seeker friendly” churches who are too afraid of offending people in search of truth so they don’t condemn any sins.
Then sink yourself into the Bible to learn who Jesus really is. See how He stood up to the religious establishment of His day to set them in their place while comforting those in sin with His hand of grace to set them on the path to heaven.
You see, it’s not an either/or mentality we need. It’s a Christlike love of truth that people seek.
The truth of God is what people are hungering and thirsting for. Nothing short of that will satisfy. Fill your soul with that so you can reach out to others in need.
Let’s get the truth of Jesus’ sacrificial love out there so people can be satisfied and changed from within.
So, are you all in?
I’ll see you later. Wade