Sunday, April 10, 2011
The 7th Step
John appeared in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
What does it mean that John appeared? Does he appear, like a ghost or a vision or a supernatural messenger or is his appearance more common place?
Why the repetition of the word wilderness?
What and how is a baptism of repentance?
How can such a baptism effect the forgiveness of sins if Jesus Christ has not yet died on the cross?
Level One: John, a prophet, instructs the people to wash themselves in a manner similar to the way that Moses had the Israelites wash themselves before God came down from the mountain to see them.
Level Two: John is the ghost or spirit of Elijah, miraculously appearing in the wilderness to help the people become ceremonially clean in preparation for the arrival of their Lord.
Level Three: Elijah’s return introduces a replacement for the ancient system of sacrifice, atonement and ceremonial cleanliness. This new system starts with repentance and results in the forgiveness of sins. Preparing for the Lord means turning away from the ways of the world and being reconciled to God’s will.
What do we take away from this: Our default lives, those aspects of our lives that are in harmony with society, convenience, comfort, peace and ease are reeking examples of filth before our Lord and God. When we repent and start turning away from the reality, mores and wisdom of human beings and towards a place where our inherent impulse to disregard Gods’ wisdom and will can be forgiven. The forgiveness allows us to celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ, the person since Adam and Eve to experience the unification of God and human being.