Through the Bible Day by Day
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The evangelist sets an emperor, a governor, two high priests, and three tetrarchs in a few lines, as of very subordinate interest, compared with the one man, the child of the desert, whose coming dated a new era and to whom he devotes the remainder of the chapter. After all, it is religious men who really make the history of mankind.
“The word of God came unto John the Baptist… and he came.” That is the true order. Get your message and then come. It is often in the wilderness of life that God’s words find us. The man who is going to master men must first master the appetites of his own body. If you seek popularity, you will lose it; if you seek to do God’s will, men will almost certainly come to find you. Souls require a clear pane of glass, when they look out on the infinite expanse of the sky! Be real! Live at first-hand with eternal truth! Fear not the face of man!
And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
THE HERALD SILENCED; THE MESSIAH APPEARS
We are told that the time of John’s appearance was the Sabbatic year, when field-work was suspended, and the people had comparative leisure. In his passion for God, reality and truth, John asked for nothing of men; but men were willing to give him anything. The impression he made on his age was due to his selfless devotion to the coming Kingdom and its King. The great cities emptied themselves into the Jordan valley. The youth of Gennesaret left their fishing boats to sit at his feet. The “spirit and power of Elijah” rested on him. All classes felt that he could speak to their needs, and submitted to his direction.
But how abashed his bearing before Jesus! The voice that had swept the crowds like a whirlwind sank to whispers. Our Lord took him into fellowship-“it becometh us.” The porter opened the door and recognized that it was the true Shepherd who passed in, Joh_1:32-34.