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Author’s note: The story you are about to read is by no means “the” way it happened.

It is merely “a” way that it might have happened.



PART 1—THE PREPARATION: THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST


Chapter 1: The Proclamation

The voice of one calling in the wilderness”


On a hot spring afternoon in A.D. 27, John the Baptist stood on the bank of the Jordan River and gazed at the desert hills to the west, in the general direction of Jerusalem. Behind him near the shoreline a crowd of about two hundred or so men, women, and children had gathered to hear him speak. He took a small hand­kerchief from his belt, mopped the sweat from his brow, then lifted a hand to his forehead, shielding his eyes from the sun, as if the brilliant light were too much for him to bear. His eyes—deep gray, the color of the eternal sea in winter—squinted and strained as they searched the far horizon.

Would today be the day? Would he see his cousin Jesus descend those hills and advance toward him? Would this be the day when his kinsman would step down into the waters of the Jordan River to be baptized? When the time finally came, would he be able to baptize his cousin?

But he saw nothing. Only dust devils swirling down the slopes of the barren hills. John smiled and muttered softly to himself: “Would the Messiah emerge from a brood of dust devils?”

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