He was a bit more peculiar than his contemporary counterparts. “That’s old man Zacharias’s boy,” they would say. However, much like his favorite cousin, Jesus, he never picked up the family trade from His dad. He had been called of God from before birth to a specific task. It was a task that didn’t include the comforts of an ordinary life.
A dark-brown, coarse, camel-haired mantel draped over his twenty-nine year old shoulders in prophet fashion, and a strap of leather cinched up his waist. His clothes were a bit different than the embroidered linen tunic that his dad wore. Since he didn’t own anything, he never harvested crops. So, his diet became as eccentric as his outfit. Locusts…giant grasshoppers, crunchy, juicy, bitter, prickly…breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At times, wild honey would add a bit of excitement and endurability to his cuisine. He was a strange-looking, strange-acting guy; sort of like a young Uncle Si with a fur coat.
And attached to his peculiar appearance and unusual dinner choices, was a knack for saying things that were less than popular. He preached the same sermon over and over, and generally ruffled the feathers of those around him. His message was entitled, “REPENT!!” Although it wasn’t popular, it was absolutely necessary. God had called him to accomplish the task of preaching this message.
For nearly 400 years God had not spoken through a prophet to his people. He had been eerily silent. The last message he had given through his prophet Malachi promised, “I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come…” Now, God had sent him. John stood on the side of the river, in the middle of the wilderness, and proclaimed this message. “Repent, God is coming.”
And while his message may have been unusual, and his appearance may have matched it, people listened. And God used him mightily. John the Baptizer prepared the way. As the divinely appointed herald, he announced the coming Savior of the world, Jesus.
Food For Thought: What was John’s attitude toward Jesus in verse 7?