Luke 1:76-78: “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven.”

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 at the Jordan River. Those who were moved by his words stepped into the water and got immersed. The river Jordan 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 Valley is part of a rift valley running north and south that extends from Southern Turkey southward via the Red Sea and into Eastern Africa – the perfect starting point for a revolution that would go all around the globe. Due to the river’s location it is reasonable to assume that many foreigners came to see John.

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 an immersion in a natural collection of water, like the Jordan River. By immersing ourselves in water we symbolize a new beginning. We all have to let go of our old mindset. There is no freedom in preconceived notions and close-mindedness.

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. Personal freedom exceeds political freedom; regardless how restrained we are from the outside, our hearts and minds can still be free.

Jesus came to revolutionize our way of thinking, and John the Baptist prepared the world by preaching repentance. Repentance is all about changing our mind and obtaining a different viewpoint. Welcome to God’s world – In His kingdom the last comes first and the first comes last; what seems foolish is wise; and what seems wise is indeed foolish. Jesus came to broaden our vision. Are we ready to receive the King?

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

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