I don’t know why I let you talk us into this,» Andy whispered to Pete as he and their cousins, Jim and John, hurried toward a spot by the river where a man stood preaching. The speaker was powerfully built with sun-tanned face and resounding voice. His clothes were handmade and hardly fashionable.
«Do violence to no man,» the preacher was saying to the assembled crowd. «Beware of our religious leaders. They’re a generation of vipers.»
Pete gasped. Talk about guts. This guy had just called the spiritual bigwigs of their nation «sons of snakes»! This was his kind of preacher.
The cousins talked it over and decided that the fishing life paled in comparison to life on the road with the man many were calling the «Baptist.» He dunked repentant sinners in the river and ate wild berries.
But the Baptist kept talking about Someone else, Someone of whom he said, «I’m not worthy to untie His sandals.» Then he said the magic word: «Messiah.» Everyone was looking for the Messiah, the person who’d come and end Roman rule in the land, setting the Jewish nation back on its feet.
One day the Baptist pointed at a Man in the crowd and announced, «There He is!» Pete and the others turned to look and almost burst out laughing. «That’s the Messiah?» they giggled. «He’s just a common, ordinary man, like us!»
But when the Stranger asked to be baptized and the Baptist dipped Him under the water, something amazing happened. A white dove appeared and hovered over the Man’s head while a voice unlike any they’d ever heard rumbled, «This is My Son. I’m pleased with Him.»