Matthew 3:1-6 NRSVue
1In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”, 3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ ”
4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region around the Jordan were going out to him, 6and they were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
The carpenter's son has not yet appeared: a wild looking character is in the wilderness outside the city, declaring the Kingdom of God is near. It sounds unlikely.
Many people are drawn to this. What is the attraction? Can I imagine myself going out to see and hear?
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
Extraordinary how a mortified man draws people. They admire one whose needs are minimal, who is the master of his own appetites, who has a deep interior freedom. John the Baptist, with minimal clothes and minimal food, was a magnet. People trusted him because clearly he could not be bought. As Churchill said of Lawrence of Arabia: /Because he despised the world’s prizes, the world held him in awe. He was enfranchised by his indifference to its pleasures./
Where are the chains on me, the appetites which I have not mastered, and that pull me in ways I do not want? Help me towards a freer heart and body, Lord.