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My oncologist has not been very positive about how much time I have. I know that is in God's hands. Still, I had made peace that EARS TO HEAR might be my finale. But I now have a new idea for a book. I am calling it, SIGNS. It will be a collection of short stories on events surrounding the miracles of Jesus recorded in The Gospel of John. I want to join the apostle and reflect the Holy Spirit in exploring why people believe in Jesus. And I intend to post condensations of these stories as I write them in my Writing Prayerfully blog. So, here is the first story.
“John started preaching to a handful of us, mostly laborers, farm hands and fishermen. He called us to repent because the kingdom of God was near. He preached against everything we were guilty of. And he baptized everyone who came in repentance. Before long, everyone was coming to him. In his thundering sermons he called us unrepentant sinners and worse. The harder he preached the more people came.
“Yesterday we who are among his closest disciples were standing around him because a delegation from the priests and Pharisees had come from Jerusalem to examine him.
“‘Who are you?’ they demanded. ‘Who do you claim to be?’ They were probably afraid he was the Messiah. And even though they, along with every rabbi in the country, had taught for hundreds of years that the Messiah had to come, they weren’t sure they were ready for him. All the people were longing for deliverance, but their leaders were going to fight it, no matter what.
“John answered them boldly. ‘I am not the Messiah.’
“Then they ask him, ‘Are you Elijah?’
“He answered, ‘No.’
“‘Are you the prophet Moses wrote about?’
“‘I am not,’ he said.
“Finally, they asked, ‘Who are you? What do you say about yourself? We have to give an answer to those who sent us.’
“Loud enough for everyone to hear, John said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord! The prophet Isaiah wrote these words about me.’’
“So, they asked, ‘Why are you baptizing if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the prophet?’
“John answered them, ‘I baptize with water, but among you stands one whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire!’
“We had not seen Jesus there that day, but he must have been in the crowd.
“By the next day the atmosphere around John seemed to relax a little. And John saw Jesus walking in the distance.
“He pointed him out and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me. I didn't know him then, but I came baptizing with water that he might be revealed to Israel.”
“A little later John said, ‘Even though I did not know who he was at the time, the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. And you who were there remember the day I baptized Jesus.”
“We could never forget that day. Jesus himself asked John to baptize him. And as Jesus came up out of the water, something that looked like a dove descended from heaven and stayed there. That was unusual enough. None of the rest of us understood what was happening until a voice came from above saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’
“Frankly, I was not surprised when John concluded, ‘I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.’”
The roots of this story come from John 1:19-34 in the Bible.
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