Prepare the Way- Rev Michael Barnes, 9/12/18
John the Baptist
The Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote the following about John:
‘Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist. For Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing with water would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness.
Now when many others came in crowds, for they were much moved by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly, John was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Machaerus, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod and a mark of God’s displeasure to him.’
(Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, chapter 5:2)
(‘The destruction of Herod’s army’ referred to at the beginning of this document relates to the defeat Herod suffered at the hands of Aretas IV of Nabatea in 36 AD.)
What are you preparing for? Do you welcome the unexpected?