A weirdo. John the Baptist, that is.
There is no doubt about that - strange
clothing (a camel's hair garment); strange eating habits (locusts and wasp
honey only); strange preaching (repentance and all that); strange river baptism
(dunking in Jordan) for those who took his preaching seriously there near
Jerusalem, Israel, in AD 30.
His father had been a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, where animal sacrifices were
still being offered as John the Baptist caused a stir outside the city. That's
another strange thing - he based his customer service centre - his whole
operation, actually - in the wilderness of Judea.
Jersey has had several new business launches in
recent months - two are offering mobile phone services. To attract customers
high profile launches have been organised. Celebrities have lent their names to
new products and services. Jersey's new phone
companies have drawn thousands of subscribers and buyers.
None have used a weirdo to that end. And none
have opened their only shop on the St Ouen sand dunes.
Yet.... something highly unusual happened
... Jerusalem (some estimate its population then
at around 100,000) went out to John... as did all of Judea... plus the entire
region round about that river - the Jordan. Many more than the Jerusalem population.
And …. they were baptised in that (pretty
dire) river... and, as they were baptised, they were confessing their sins....
openly stating, by a physical act and by their words, "we have messed up
and we want to put it right".
Then they were ready for the good news -
the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the way to forgiveness of confessed
If weirdos in wildernesses always achieved
such results Saatchi & Saatchi would be recruiting as many as they could
Prayer, to many, is also strange. John the
Baptist was marvellously effective for the one about whom he preached, 'Prepare
the way of the Lord, make his paths straight'. He was effective because of
another who was behind it all. That other rendered it extremely (totally,
The effectiveness of prayer also depends on
another... it depends on the person to whom it is addressed.
And that person was (is) the same person to
whom John the Baptist was pointing...
Interesting that prayer is still being
made - to the same person - in Jersey these