Israel was devastated. After Jerusalem was conquered by Roman General Pompey in 63 BC the nation suffered greatly. By the time Jesus was born, people grew increasingly restless looking for new leadership; specifically, they were looking for the promised Redeemer of Israel, the Messiah who would turn things around.
Meanwhile, Jesus’s cousin John went to work. He was the herald who publicly announced the good news:
“The Messiah is coming! Prepare your hearts and get ready to receive the King of kings!”
Throngs of people flocked to the area where John preached, which was down by the banks of the Jordan River. Those who were moved by his words stepped into the water and got immersed. In Judaism, a bath called “Mikveh or mikvah Hebrew: מִקְוֶה / מקווה” is used to achieve ritual purity. It is understood that most forms of impurity can be nullified through the immersion in any natural collection of water; hence the Jordan River came in handy for John.
So, people got immersed and stepped out of the water in hopes to live a better life. Expectations were at an all-time-high. They were looking for a king freeing them from dictatorship and leading them into freedom. Freedom fighters all around the world will testify how elusive freedom can be, and how hard it is to obtain and maintain freedom.
However, contrary to popular belief, Israel’s Messiah did not come to address their political situation. In fact, Israel’s Messiah is not Israel’s alone. Redeemer of all nations, Jesus actually fights for every one of us. His precious gift prominently exceeding political freedom is: freedom of heart, freedom of mind, and freedom of soul.
There is neither freedom in preconceived notions, nor is there any freedom to be found in close-mindedness. Try to have a friendly discussion with an opinionated person, and you know what I’m talking about. In God’s kingdom our common way of thinking is turned upside down. The last comes first, and the first comes last; what seems foolish is wise; and what seems wise is indeed foolish – welcome to God’s world! It is His intention to broaden our vision.
John the Baptist incited a revolution because God wants to revolutionize our way of thinking. He wants to revolutionize you and me.
Jesus has come. The ball is in our court now. Are we ready to receive the King?