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Daily Bible Readings

John the Plunger is Getting People Ready

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

[6] Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. [7] And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. [8] I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:1–5 ESV Read More

I like the way N.T.Wright interpreted it. 

6 John wore camel-hair clothes, with a leather belt around his waist. He used to eat locusts and wild honey. 7 “Someone a lot stronger than me is coming close behind,” John used to tell them. “I don’t deserve to squat down and undo his sandals. 8 I’ve plunged you in the water; he’s going to plunge you in the holy spirit.”
The Kingdom New Testament by N.T.Wright

John the Baptist is always the weirdest guy in even the most normal Jesus movies. He probably had dreadlocks and his clothing was pretty rough. It wasn’t the kind of flowing robe that all the other guys in the Jesus movies get to wear. But his clothing was only the beginning. 

John was consecrated from birth to be a holy kid and only eat certain foods. His hair was never cut and he grew up growing closer and closer to the Lord. He was a prophet from his childhood like Samuel. Samuel also never had a haircut and grew up in the wisdom and direction of the Lord. Samuel also anointed the first king of Israel. 

As John is baptizing people, he is preaching to them about the coming Messiah. People are actively following him, participating in baptism in the river and sticking around to hear his teachings. The wilderness and the Jordan River are all over the Old Testament as places where Israel gets changed. It is sometimes a boundary of decision, or of change, or of taking possession of a promise. That is where John is because he is leading the people through all of those things. 

John is saying that when the Messiah comes, it’s going to be like Exodus or Joshua or every good thing Isaiah promised. If you are impressed with John you can just hold on, because the Messiah is so much greater that John isn’t even worthy to touch His shoes. John is pushing people down into the water as a sign of their repentance. When the Messiah comes, He is going to push them into the Holy Spirit as a sign of something else. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the word ‘baptism,’ so don’t. Whatever John was doing with people into the water of the Jordan River, the Messiah is going to do with them into the Holy Spirit. That’s the point. When they came out of the Jordan, they were soaked and had set a new course for their lives. Once the Messiah deals with a person, they are soaked with the Holy Spirit and have a new course for their lives. 

That is what John is announcing. John the Baptist is great, and impressive, and anointed by God, and unlike anything the world has ever seen, and you ain’t seen nothing yet. 

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Tags: baptism, holy spirit, repentance, salvation

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