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Matthew 3


John a.k.a. "The Baptist" worked alone. He wore cheap, uncomfortable clothes, and lived off the land. He preached to whomever came by that the world was about to end so they'd better hurry up and make good with God.

[We now know that the world was not about to end, at least not during John's lifetime, but every age has its preachers of imminent doom, and ... maybe one of them will be right.]

John practised a cleansing ritual known as "Baptism". People would symbolically submerge themselves in water while confessing their sins, so that God would forgive them and accept their clean souls into Heaven.

John didn't care much for the organized clergy of his day, perhaps because they were in cahoots with the Romans to keep Israel under the Alliance. Whenever an ordained preacher would come by, John would yell at them and say he knew of a more powerful dude who would someday baptize with fire.

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After Jesus was old enough to wander around by himself, he visited John to get baptized. John instantly realized Jesus was, in fact, that more powerful fire dude he'd been warning about. Nevertheless, John asked Jesus to baptize him. Jesus declined, insisting that John baptize him (using water). Thus, a lasting friendship was born, and God opened the Heavens to say "My boy, I love you! I'm so proud of you!"


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