1 This is where my account of the Good News Story begins, my witness concerning my belief that Jesus is Christ and is the Son of God.
2 Before we go further, remember what the prophets wrote. The prophet Malachi wrote, "I will send my messenger ahead of you and this messenger will prepare the people for your coming.Ē And the prophet Isaiah wrote, ď 3 "This is a voice of one who from the wilderness proclaims, 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight the road for him.' " With that in mind, we go on.
4 John the cousin of Jesus was baptizing people in the wilderness. He was preaching a baptism that signified the changing of peoples lives both inwardly and outwardly. This involved the forgiveness of their sins.
5 Crowds of people from the region of Judea and the city of Jerusalem were journeying out into this wilderness region to see and hear him. When they came, they confessed their sins and then were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
6 John wore a tunic made from camel's hair. He wore a leather belt around his waist. He lived on a diet of locusts and wild honey.
7 The heart of Johnís message was this: "There shall soon come one who is greater than me. Why I am not even qualified to kneel and untie his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but the One who will come will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
The Journal of Jesus Josephson, a Carpenter from Galilee Entry One
My Father, I suppose the hour has come for it all to begin. From my youngest days, my mother and father have told me the stories of the divine destiny that they believed fell to me. And through these years of working in the carpenterís shop and through my years of rabbinical studies in the Nazareth synagogue, I do believe, no - rather I have come to know that I have heard that call of Your Voice and I have felt that draw of Your Spirit.
Now my cousin John is already at work, beckoning our people to prepare for the liberation of our land and the restoration of Your Realm by the cleansing of our lives and the redirection of our living. The people are flocking to him. They are sensing that the hour has come. As does John and as do I.
Now I sit here on this rocky ledge here in this vast wilderness looking down upon the Jordan River. I can hear Johnís booming voice; I can see the crowds making their way into the waters, one by one, by the hundreds. And I know, Father, the time has come - my time, our time, their time. Walk with me, Father, as we make this journey together.
Mark 1: 9-13
9 It was at this time that Jesus traveled from the northern region of Galilee, from a town known as Nazareth. He came to be baptized in the Jordan River by John, the wilderness prophet.
10 Just as Jesus was rising out of the water, he saw heaven open. The Holy Spirit descended upon in the manner of a dove gently setting. 11 A voice was then heard coming from heaven saying, "You are my Son, the one whom I love. I am pleased with you."
12 The Holy Spirit then drove Jesus into the desolate wilderness.13 He remained in the wilderness for forty days. There he was put to the test by the Tempter, known by the name of Satan. The angels came and cared for Jesus, here in this place filled with wild animals.
The Journal of Jesus Josephson, a Carpenter from Galilee Entry Two
I am now halfway through my time of fast out here in the desert. The hunger and the thirst try both oneís body and soul, but it is the aloneness that can be the most difficult. Except for the occasional snake, an occasional lion, and the ever-circling winged scavengers hovering over my weakening body, it is but me and the angels out here. I walk here in the wilderness, a journey from where I was to where I will need to be. I wait here in the wilderness, a wait for the coming of my Father to me and of me to my Father.
I am here to pray. I am here to prepare my soul. I am here to fight my way through the temptations that I will surely face. I am here to be alone with God and that God might be alone with me.
Here I allow the Holy Spirit, that Breath within the Voice that came from heaven as I first rose from those baptismal waters, to bring to life that divinity placed within me from before my birth.
Here I allow God to teach me heavenís ways, to teach me His ways, to teach me the way I must go so that others might have a way to follow.
Father, will I be ready at the end of these forty days? Will I be ready?
14 John the Baptist was soon imprisoned by Herod Antipas, the ruler of the region of Galilee. It was at this time that Jesus began preaching the Good News throughout the Galilean countryside.15 He proclaimed, "The hour has come and the reign of God is near. Change the attitude of your hearts and the direction of your lives. Believe that the Good News of Godís coming new realm is true!"
16 It was while Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee that he came upon two brothers, Simon and Andrew. They were fishermen and they were casting their fishing nets. 17 Jesus said to them, "Come and follow me. I will make you fishers of people." 18 Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed Jesus.
19Further along the shore, Jesus came upon two more brothers, James and John, sons of the fisherman known as Zebedee. They were sitting in their fishing boat doing the work of mending their nets 20 when Jesus approached them to invite them to join him in his mission. They immediately left to follow Jesus leaving behind their father and their hired hands to care for their fishing business.
The Journal of Jesus Josephson, a Carpenter from Galilee Entry Three
When I have received the news of Johnís arrest, I knew that my work in Galilee could no longer wait. Johnís public statements about the moral and political corruption of the Herods surely led to his imprisonment. What will happen to John? I fear he will never be released.
My first task was to gather students for my rabbinical school. We would travel from town to town. I would teach them and they would in turn teach others, serving the people as the Lord would have us serve. I would need men whose hearts and minds were already being prepared for this mission by the Spirit of God.
It was on the occasion of one of my first preaching moments that I came upon two disciples of my cousin John, two fisherman named Andrew and John. They in turn introduced me to their brothers. The first was a big, rugged, rather coarse fisherman named Simon. He intrigued me. He was a bold, brash, plain-spoken fellow with natural leadership in his manner. With Andrew and Simon by my side, we made contact with James and John. James was an older man, solid and steady, while his younger brother John was of a gentler, more poetic nature, a man of thought and reflection.
We would need more workers and they soon came.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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