- In the desert is another connection to the prophet Isaiah who prophesied that “a voice cries out in the desert” (Isa 40:3).
- The word “proclaim” comes from the Greek word “kerysson” and has the meaning “to proclaim a message”.
- For example, a king of the time might send a herald to “announce” that taxes would be raised.
- John is sent by God to “proclaim” that there is forgiveness of sins for those who repent and are baptized.
- The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word “baptizo” and means “to lower” or “to enclose”.
- Baptism by immersion in water was not new to the Jewish people.
- At this time there were also “mikveh” (purification baths) where one could dip oneself for various reasons and thus ritually purify oneself before entering the temple, for example.
- Immersion in a mikveh was also part of the procedure required for a gentile to become part of the Jewish people.
- What is new in John’s teaching is that he now wants the Jewish people to be baptized and that this should happen in the context of their return to God.
- Baptism thus became the means John used to prepare the Jewish people for the coming of the Messiah.
- What gives forgiveness of sins is Jesus’ death on the cross (Mt 26:28).
- Anyone who turns to God and demonstrates it by being baptized receives the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
- All Judea confessed her sins and was baptized
- Those who were baptized openly confessed that they had not been able to keep their part of the covenant with God. Just as it is only the sick who need doctors, it is only sinners who need forgiveness (Mk 2:11).
- The open confession of sin is a recurring theme in the New Testament (Acts 19:18, James 5:16).
- By this dress he resembles Elijah (2 Kings 1:8).
- John’s locust diet was not uncommon among the desert population at this time, but only the poorest ate locusts. In this way, John’s lifestyle shows that he identifies with the people he lives next door to, on the one hand, and the people who are poor, on the other.
- There were certainly people around John who speculated that John might not be the long-awaited Messiah, but John is clear that he is not.
- Although John became a successful prophet, he was totally humble before the greatness of Jesus and he was not afraid to openly confess that in comparison with Jesus he is only a slave.
- This is a promise that goes back to several Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 44:3, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Joel 2:28-29) and is fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4).
- If baptism in water is a sign of repentance, baptism in the Holy Spirit is the power given to the believer to bear witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8).
- Every Christian can be baptized in the Holy Spirit and receive the power of the Spirit.
- Today, in some contexts, there may be a rush for intercession to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to have an experience. This is not the purpose of the power of the Spirit and such intercession risks being a great disappointment. But if one goes out and witnesses to Jesus and at the same time asks for the power of the Holy Spirit, he will receive it (Acts 4:8).