Mark 1 v 5 - 8

In the light of Jesus Christ's appearance, John the Baptist is rather dwarfed by the Light of the World, but his ministry was mightily effective and we can observe the longevity of his witness when we read in the book of Acts- chapter 19 v 1-7- that there were people who called themselves 'Disciples of John the Baptist'. Why was it that John made such an impact?

1. He was a man who lived his message. He stayed in the wilderness - traveling through it in the twenty first century brings home the severity of living there; he wore a camel's hair garment, just like Elijah; he ate locusts and honey- a simple diet.

2. He told people what in their heart of hearts they already knew: when John commanded his listeners to repent, it was something that they had always been aware of- that they had not kept God's Law.

3. John was completely humble. It was clear to his listeners that here was a man with no ego and someone completely self-effacing.

4. His message was effective, because he pointed to something and someone beyond himself. He spoke of a man who would transform a person's inner life. John's baptism demonstrated the desire of those being baptized to repent before God; the coming of Jesus provided the way to an inner cleansing and complete transformation.

For those of us of a certain age, John the Baptist's role was similar to that of the telephone operator. When trying to contact someone, the operator would take your call and then contact the person you required: John the Baptist led people to Christ in repentance and acceptance.

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