Zachariah was as happy as could be. He held his newborn son John in his arms. A prophecy whispered in His heart as looked at his son. John would prepare the way for the Messiah.
Fast forward to 30 years later, 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, like the Jordan River.
The Jordan River is 156 miles long and flows roughly north to south through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea, which gave John a nice radius for his ministry. The Jordan River also serves as East/West border separating Israel from neighboring countries. It is reasonable to assume that foreigners were also attracted to John’s ministry. In John’s lifetime, the Roman Empire ruled Israel and the neighboring countries with an iron fist. People were looking for a king to free them from current oppression and lead them into freedom.
Contrary to popular belief, however, the Messiah did not come to address their political situation, as desperate as it was. As a general observation, personal freedom exceeds political freedom; regardless how restrained we are from the outside, our hearts and minds can still be free.
Never despise the small beginnings. John the Baptist started a revolution that began at the Jordan River and went all around the globe. By immersing ourselves in water we symbolize a new beginning, and the new beginning is in our heads. Jesus came to revolutionize our way of thinking, and John the Baptist prepared the crowd by preaching repentance. This is what repentance is all about: a change of mind. We all have to let go of our old mindset. There is no freedom in preconceived notions and close-mindedness.
In God’s kingdom, common sense 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. This is why Jesus has come. Are we ready to receive the King?