The reading today introduces us to another colorful character of God’s providential story… John the Baptizer. Hope for the Jews was continuing to grow with the empire of Rome seizing control of the world. There were those devout Jews, who we are aware of in Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and a realization that within the Roman kingdom, God would establish His kingdom that would last forever. This prompted many people like Simeon and Anna who were “waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2.38), to keep watch for events that would be prompted. One of the prophecies that would serve as a key to when this hope would be realized was from Isaiah “A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3) and Malachi “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1). John the Baptist fits that description perfectly. John comes onto the scene to preach a message of repentance from sin as well as the coming of the one who is much greater than himself. Johns preaching catches the eyes and ears of virtually everyone he encounters, making people believe he is the reincarnation of one of the prophets of old, or the possible Messiah himself. Yet John’s message is simply to pave the way for the one to come… Jesus; and that is exactly what he does. As soon as Jesus comes to John to be baptized for fulfilling all righteousness, John takes a back seat and points people in the direction of following Jesus. What an example John should be to us! As someone who says don’t follow me…follow Him.