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December 22 – Warming People Up For the Main Attraction

Israel had gone a long time without a word from the Lord. They had seen no prophet, no great leader, except for, perhaps, the Maccabees. Perhaps they thought that God had forsaken them. Perhaps they thought that God didn’t care about them anymore. Maybe some had experienced the power of the father exercised by the Romans and had begun to accept and embrace Roman ways. Whatever was happening, people needed to get right with God again. John had a mission from God: he was to get people thinking about God’s ways again. Parents were created to love their children. The Roman belief that some children could be thrown away was not part of God’s plan back then, nor is it now. Those who were straying from the faith were to be led back into the wisdom of the righteous. John’s message was to be harsh, and strict. Many would respond and repent of their sin. Ultimately, though, people began recognizing how far they had strayed from God, opening the door to the message of grace that Jesus taught. John would preach, and the people would want more, and in the end, they got Jesus.

The preaching of John opened the way for the message of grace that only Jesus could preach. The message if repentance reminded people of their sins; it drove people to respond in ways that showed that they were living according to God’s law, and yet, there was still something missing. As much as people sought to follow the law, they recognized that there had to be more. When John baptized Jesus, and then later told his disciples that Jesus was the one to follow, many of them left John without hesitation. Even those closest to him knew they needed more of God, and from God. To put it in show business terms again, John was the warm up act. People who didn’t realize that got excited about his preaching, but then Jesus, the main act, took the stage, and people realized who the real star was. John went from signing autographs with his groupies, to telling people which way to go to hear Jesus.


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