If ever a man was hard on himself, it was John the Baptist. His comment on his preaching of Christ was that he was not worthy (RVmg. ‘sufficient’) to bear Christ's sandals (Mt. 3:11). The sandal-bearer was the herald; John knew he was heralding Christ's appearing, but he openly said he was not worthy to do this. He felt his insufficiency, as we ought to ours. Would we had that depth of awareness; for on the brink of the Lord's coming, we are in a remarkably similar position to John. Paul perhaps directs us back to John when he says that we are not “sufficient” to be the savour of God to this world; and yet we are made sufficient to preach by God (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:5,6 RV).
Although John preached the excellence of Christ, he didn’t even consider himself to be part of the mystic bride of Christ; for he likens himself to only the groom, watching the happiness of the couple, but not having a part in it himself (Jn. 3:29). And note how John appeals for men to be baptized with the twice repeated personal comment: “...and I knew him not”, in the very context of our reading that the [Jewish] world “knew him not” (Jn. 1:10, 31,33). He realises that he had withstood the knowledge of the Son of God, just as others had. When asked who he was, John’s reply was simply: “a voice”. Amos, in the same way, was told not to keep on prophesying; but he replies: “I am no prophet…the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy” (Am. 1:14,15 RV). It’s almost contradictory: ‘I’m not a prophet…I am a prophet’. He was truly selfless, like, John, just a voice for God. Samuel spoke of himself at a distance from himself when he told Israel: “The Lord sent Jerubbaal…and Samuel…and delivered you” (1 Sam. 12:11). Luke’s record of the preaching of the Gospel makes no reference to the deaths of Peter and Paul, even though they were central to his historical account. Clearly he reflected the fact that personalities are not to be important in preaching; there is a selflessness about true preaching and also the recording of it. Matthew’s preaching of the Gospel makes reference to himself as if he had no personal awareness of himself as he recounted his part in the Gospel events (Mt. 9:9). There is reason to believe that Matthew was himself a converted Scribe; the way he has access to various versions of Scripture and quotes them as having been fulfilled in a way reminiscent of the Jewish commentaries (compare Mt. 4:12-17 with Mk. 1:14,15) suggests this(3). The point is that in this case Matthew would be referring to himself when he writes: “Every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old” (Mt. 13:52). Yet he does so in a beautifully oblique and selfless manner.
John’s humility is further brought out by the way John fields the question as to whether he is “the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” (Jn. 1:25). He could have answered: ‘I am the Elijah prophet’- for the Lord Himself said of John that “this is Elijah”, with perhaps conscious reference back to this question (Mt. 11:14). But John didn’t answer that way. His reply was simply to speak of the greatness of Christ and his unworthiness to be His herald (Jn. 1:26,27). John’s humility is brought out yet further by reflection on the fact that he clearly baptized huge numbers of people, and yet also had a group of people known as ‘the disciples of John’. Clearly he didn’t intend to found a sect, and was so taken up with trying to prepare people for the Lord’s coming that he simply wished to lead them to some level of repentance and baptize them, without necessarily making them part of ‘his disciples’. John's low self-estimation is seen in how he denied that he was "Elijah" or the "prophet" whom the Jews expected to come prior to Messiah (Jn. 1:21). The Lord Himself clearly understood John as the Elijah prophet- "this is Elijah" (Mt. 11:14), He said of John. John wasn't being untruthful, nor did he misunderstand who he was. For he associates his "voice" with the voice of the Elijah prophet crying in the wilderness, and appropriates language from the Elijah prophecy of Mal. 4 to his own preaching. His denial that he was 'that prophet' therefore reflects rather a humility in him, a desire for his message to be heard for what it was, rather than any credibility to be given to it because of his office. There's a powerful challenge for today’s preacher of the Gospel.
The Old Testament Background
The message of Is. 40:3 is that before the final coming of the Lord, there will be a proclamation of this by His people: “Prepare ye [plural] the way of the Lord”. As the King’s servants went ahead of him to make the path he had to travel smooth and plain [remember there were no motorways then!], so we go ahead of the returning Lord of all the earth, to prepare the way / road for Him. And yet within Isaiah, there is ample evidence that God prepares His own way: “I will do a new thing…I will even make a way in the wilderness” (Is. 43:19). Perhaps the element of unreality here, the ‘new thing’, is that the King Himself prepares His own way or road. Or again: “I will make all my mountains a way” (Is. 49:11). The connection with Is. 40:3 is that in the work of preparing the Lord’s way, in the last great preaching appeal of all time in the lead up to the second coming, the Lord Himself will work with us to make that way plain and clear. In all the challenges of the latter day fulfilment of the great commission, the Lord Himself will work with us.
The Isaiah 40 passage is therefore a command for our latter day witness to all the world, Israel especially, to prepare their way for the Lord’s coming. We are to “cry” unto Zion that “her iniquity is pardoned”, but we are also to ‘cry’ for her to repent, to be “made straight”, for the rough places to be ‘made plain’; to “cry aloud…lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression (Is. 40:2-4; 58:1). It’s exactly because we have in prospect been forgiven that we are called to repent. The forgiveness has already been granted; iniquity has been pardoned. We are to ‘cry’ out this fact; and also to ‘cry out’ for repentance. But we have to respond to that. It’s similar to how Saul/Paul was called ‘brother’ even before his conversion and baptism. The world’s redemption was achieved through the cross; but we have to appeal to the world to accept it. And in our own lives we must live out what we are preaching to others; exactly because we have already been forgiven, we need to repent of what we’ve been forgiven of, to as it were claim that forgiveness as our very own. And the same Hebrew word translated ‘cry’ occurs in the same context in Is. 40:26; 43:1; 45:3,4; 48:12; 54:6, where we read that it is God Himself who calls every one of Israel back to Him, just as He calls every star by its own personal name. And so in our personal calling of men and women, in our crying out to them in these last days to be prepared for the Lord’s coming, we are workers together with God. He is crying out to them, through our feeble, shy, embarrassed, uncertain words of witness. Likewise it is God Himself who makes the crooked places straight in Is. 42:16 and 45:2- whereas Is. 40:3, it is we the preachers who are to do this.
What then of the message? It is that the valleys are to be lifted up, and the mountains made low, thus creating a plain. I read this as meaning that those with too low a view of themselves are to be lifted up, and the heights of human pride brought down. The over confident and under confident alike are to levelled so that they can be a path for the Lord’s glory. “Made low” in Is. 40:4 is surely in the spirit of Is. 2:11, which predicts that in the day of judgment, “the lofty looks of man shall be humbled [s.w. ‘made low’], and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down”. The experience of condemnation in the coming day of the Lord will mean that “the proud and lofty” will be “brought low” (Is. 2:12,17; 5:15). In fact, Isaiah is full of references to the proud being ‘made low’ by judgment- the same Hebrew word is common: Is. 10:33; 13:11; 25:11; 26:5. Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he said that our preaching is a bringing down of every high thing that is exalted against God (2 Cor. 10:5). Our message is basically that we must be humbled one way or the other- either by our repentance and acceptance of the Gospel today, or through the experience of condemnation at the day of judgment. We’re calling people to humility. And we must ask whether the content and style of our preaching really does that. But when John the Baptist quoted and preached this passage, he interpreted it beyond a call to humility. He said that in order to prepare the way of the Lord, to make a level passage for Him, the man with two coats should give to him who had none, and likewise share his food (Lk. 3:11). So the ‘equality’ and levelling was to be one of practical care for others. We have to ask, how often we have shared our food, clothing or money with those who don’t have… for this is all part of preparing for the Lord’s coming. It could even be that when there is more of what Paul calls “an equality” amongst the community of believers, that then the way of the Lord will have been prepared. And He will then return.
The primary reference of the Isaiah 40 passage is to the Jews. But even more specifically, it is to be cried out “to Jerusalem”. I submit that the most specific fulfilment of the prophecy will be in our latter day preaching resulting in a remnant of Jews repenting in Jerusalem, so that the Lord’s return will be to a faithful Jewish remnant in literal Jerusalem. The ‘making straight’ is to be done in “the desert” (:3)- a description elsewhere of Jerusalem (Is. 51:3). “Every [Heb. ‘the whole, complete’] mountain and hill” (:4) which is to respond to the Gospel may refer to people on the temple mount, upon which the Lord shall “come down, to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof” (Is. 31:4; 10:32). The Hebrew words used here for ‘mount’ and ‘hill’ are identical in the passages. The Lord will return to Zion to find a repentant remnant there, converted by our preaching. Mal. 3:1, a clearly related passage, says that when the way has been prepared, then “the Lord… shall suddenly [Heb. ‘immediately’] come to his temple”. It seems that He comes as soon as, almost to the moment, that the way is prepared. Is it going too far to imagine that when the last Jews are baptized in Jerusalem, perhaps literally on the Temple Mount, then the Lord will immediately return there, “to his temple”? Then the Lord shall “come down to fight for mount Zion and for the hill thereof”.
John’s Style Of Preaching
There was an intensity and critical urgency about John and his message. John urged people to make their path “straight”- using a Greek word elsewhere translated “immediately”, “forthwith” (Lk. 3:4 s.w. Mk. 1:12,28 and often). Getting things straight in our lives is a question of immediate response. He warns people to “flee from the wrath to come” (Lk. 3:7). This was what their changed lives and baptisms were to be about- a fleeing from the wrath to come. He speaks as if that “wrath to come” is just about to come, it’s staring them in the face like a wall of forest fire, and they are to flee away from it. And yet Paul (in one of his many allusions to John’s message, which perhaps he had heard himself ‘live’) speaks of “the wrath to come” as being the wrath of the final judgment (1 Thess. 1:10), or possibly that of AD70 (1 Thess. 2:16). But both those events would not have come upon the majority of John’s audience. And the day of ‘wrath to come’ is clearly ultimately to be at the Lord’s return (Rev. 6:17; 11:18). Yet John zooms his hearers forward in time, to perceive that they face condemnation and judgment day right now, as they hear the call of the Gospel. This was a feature of John; he had the faith which sees things which are not as though they already are. Thus he looked at Jesus walking towards him and commented that here was the “Lamb of God”, a phrase the Jews would’ve understood as referring to the lamb which was about to be sacrificed on Passover (Jn. 1:29). John presumably was referencing the description of the crucified Jesus in Is. 53:7; for John, he foresaw it all, it was as if he saw Jesus as already being led out to die, even though that event was over three years distant. And so he could appeal to his audience to face judgment day as if they were standing there already. We need to have the same perspective.
There was an intensity and critical urgency about John and his message. John urged people to make their path “straight”- using a Greek word elsewhere translated “immediately”, “forthwith” (Lk. 3:4 s.w. Mk. 1:12,28 and often). Getting things straight in our lives is to be a question of immediate response. He warns people to “flee from the wrath to come” (Lk. 3:7). This was what their changed lives and baptisms were to be about- a fleeing from the wrath to come. He speaks as if that “wrath to come” is just about to come, it’s staring them in the face like a wall of forest fire, and they are to flee away from it. And yet Paul (in one of his many allusions to John’s message, which perhaps he had heard himself ‘live’) speaks of “the wrath to come” as being the wrath of the final judgment (1 Thess. 1:10), or possibly that of AD70 (1 Thess. 2:16). But both those events would not have come upon the majority of John’s audience. And the day of ‘wrath to come’ is clearly ultimately to be at the Lord’s return (Rev. 6:17; 11:18). Yet John zooms his hearers forward in time, to perceive that they face condemnation and judgment day right now, as they hear the call of the Gospel. This was a feature of John; he had the faith which sees things which are not as though they already are. Thus he looked at Jesus walking towards him and commented that here was the “Lamb of God”, a phrase the Jews would’ve understood as referring to the lamb which was about to be sacrificed on Passover (Jn. 1:29). John presumably was referencing the description of the crucified Jesus in Is. 53:7; for John, he foresaw it all, it was as if he saw Jesus as already being led out to die, even though that event was over three years distant. And so he could appeal to his audience to face judgment day as if they were standing there already. We need to have the same perspective.
The ideas of fleeing wrath and preparing a way are surely based upon the Law’s command in Dt. 19:3 that a way or road should be prepared to the city of refuge (symbolic of Christ- Heb. 6:18), along which the person under the death sentence for manslaughter could flee for refuge. John was preparing that way or road to Christ, and urging ordinary people to flee along it. They didn’t like to think they were under a death sentence for murder. They were just ordinary folk like the soldiers who grumbled about their wages, and the publicans who were a bit less than honest at work. But they had to flee. But they wouldn’t be alone in that. If a man prepares his way after God’s principles (2 Chron. 27:6; Prov. 4:26), then God will ‘prepare’ that man’s way too (Ps. 37:23; 119:5), confirming him in the way of escape.
Likewise John says that the axe is laid to the root of the trees; his hearers were about to be cut down and thrown into the fire of condemnation. And He says that the Jesus whom he heralds is about to come and divide the wheat from the chaff in judgment, gathering in the wheat, and burning the chaff with “unquenchable fire” (Lk. 3:17). But the ‘fire’ of condemnation and the division of wheat and chaff is to be done ultimately at the Lord’s second coming (Mt. 13:30; Mk. 9:48). But for John, the moment his audience met Jesus, they were standing before the Lord of judgment, the Judge of all the earth. In their response to Him, they were living out the final judgment. And this is just as true of us, both as preachers and hearers of the Gospel.
This intense, urgent presentation of the ultimate issues of life and death, acceptance and rejection, brought forth a massive response. People lined up for baptism. And John was hardly polite. He called his baptismal candidates a “generation of vipers”, alluding obviously to the seed of the serpent in Gen. 3:15. Yet his tough line with them, his convicting them of sin, led them to ask what precisely they must do, in order to be baptized. They didn’t turn away in offence. They somehow sensed he was for real, and the message he preached couldn’t be ignored or shrugged off as the ravings of a fanatic. Time and again we see the same- the very height of the demand of Christ of itself convicts men and women of Him. And it’s for this reason that it seems almost ‘easier’ to convict people of Christ and the need for baptism into Him in societies [e.g. radical Moslem ones] where the price for conversion to Him is death or serious persecution… than in the easy going Western countries where being ‘Christian’ is the normal cultural thing to do.
The nature of how demanding John was is reflected in his response to the soldiers and publicans. He didn’t tell them to quit their jobs, but to live with integrity within those jobs. He told the soldiers to be content with their wages- implying he expected them to not throw in their job. This is juxtaposed with the command for them to do no violence. But not grumbling about wages was as fundamental an issue for John as not doing physical violence to people. To have as Paul put it “Godliness with contentment” [another of his allusions to John’s preaching?] is as important as not doing violence. And yet our tendency is to think that moaning about our wages is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do, whereas violence is of an altogether different order. It’s like Paul hitting the Corinthians for their divisiveness, when if we’d been writing to them we would likely have focused upon their immorality and false doctrine. John would have been far less demanding had he simply told the publicans and soldiers to quit their jobs. By asking them to continue, and yet to live out their lives within those jobs with Godly principles, He was being far more demanding.
But there’s another reason why John personally was so compelling as a preacher. His comment on his preaching of Christ was that he was not worthy (RVmg. ‘sufficient’) to bear Christ's sandals (Mt. 3:11). The sandal-bearer was the herald; John knew he was heralding Christ's appearing, but he openly said he was not worthy to do this. He felt his insufficiency, as we ought to ours. Would we had that depth of awareness; for on the brink of the Lord's coming, we are in a remarkably similar position to John. To carry the master’s sandals (Mt. 3:11) was, according to Vine, the work of the lowest slave. This was how John saw himself; and this is what witnessing for Jesus is all about, being the lowest slave and servant of the Lord of glory. It's interesting in this context to note how the Lord Jesus states that in some sense, John 'was Elijah', whereas he himself denies this (Mt. 11:14; 17:12; Mk. 9:13). Such was his humility. Or consider how John's comment that he came "after" Jesus, and that Jesus was the redeemer rather than he himself (Jn. 1:15) contain a strange allusion to the words of the redeemer-who-was-incapable-of-redeeming in Ruth 4:4- Boaz told him that "I am after thee", but in the end the incapable-redeemer plucked off his shoe as a sign of unworthiness to redeem (Ruth 4:7). And John surely also had this in mind when he commented that he was unworthy to unloose Messiah's shoe (Jn. 1:27). The allusions are surely indicative of the way John felt like the unworthy / incapable redeemer, eclipsed before Boaz / Jesus. The extent of his humility in referring to unlosing the Lord's shoe is underlined once we're aware of the Rabbinic saying: "Every work which a slave performs for his lord, a disciple must do for his teacher, except lossing his shoe" (1). And yet John felt unworthy to do even that.
How terribly wrong it is, then, for missionary service to be gloried in and somehow a reason for those who do it to become puffed up in self-importance. Perhaps John’s Gospel purposefully inserts the comment that John the Baptist said this whilst he was baptizing so many people (Jn. 1:28)- as if to draw a link between his humility, and the success in preaching which he had. Paul perhaps directs us back to John when he says that we are not “sufficient” to be the savour of God to this world; and yet we are made sufficient to preach by God (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:5,6 RV). Although John preached the excellence of Christ, he didn’t even consider himself to be part of the mystic bride of Christ; for he likens himself to only the groom, watching the happiness of the couple, but not having a part in it himself (Jn. 3:29). And note how John appeals for men to be baptized with the twice repeated personal comment: “...and I knew him not”, in the very context of our reading that the [Jewish] world “knew him not” (Jn. 1:10, 31,33). He realises that he too had withstood the knowledge of the Son of God, just as others had. When asked who he was, John’s reply was simply: “a voice”. He was nothing; his message about Jesus was everything. In all this there is a far cry from the self-confident, self-projecting speaking off the podium which characterizes so much of our ‘preaching’ today. So John’s appeal to repentance was shot through with a recognition of his own humanity. It wasn’t mere moralizing. We likely don’t preach as John did because we fear that confronting people with their sins is inappropriate for us to do, because we too are sinners. But with recognition of our own humanity, we build a bridge between our audience and ourselves.
There was another reason behind John’s appeal for repentance. It was that he perceived how eager God is to forgive, and how our acceptance of that forgiveness is His glory and His salvation. John says, quoting Is. 40:5, that if men repent and ready themselves for the Lord’s coming, then “all flesh shall see the salvation of God”. But he is changing the quotation- Isaiah said that all flesh shall see the glory of God. But saving men and women is the thing God glories in. John’s father had prophesied that John would “give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, because of the heart of mercy of our God” (Lk. 1:77,78 RVmg.). The fact that God has a “heart of mercy”- a lovely phrase- is His glory. It leads Him to glory in overlooking sin. And on this basis John appealed to people to repent and claim that forgiveness, thus allowing God to glory. In the light of all this, one wonders in what tone of voice John spoke. The cold printed words in our Bibles can lead us to imagine him speaking in a gruff, austere manner. But perhaps even his comment “Generation of vipers” was said with a heart of love and appeal, reflecting the “heart of mercy” which he had come to know in the Father. He was “the friend of the bridegroom” (Jn. 3:29)- the one who introduced the groom to the bride and arranged the marriage and then the wedding. John’s “Generation of vipers” stuff was all part of his attempt to persuade the bride, Israel, to accept the groom, the Lord Jesus. He wasn’t angrily moralizing, lashing out at society as many a dysfunctional preacher does today, working out his own anger by criticizing and condemning society in the name of God. No, John was appealing. He had an agenda and an aim- to bring Israel and the Son of God together in marriage. John's Gospel features the Lord Jesus confidently stating "I am...". The context is set for this by the way John's Gospel begins by describing how John the Baptist said "I am not..." ("I am not the Messiah", Jn. 1:20; 3:28; "I am not [Elijah]", Jn. 1:21; "I am not worthy", Jn. 1:27. By confessing his own weakness, who he was not, John the Baptist was paving the way for the recognition and acceptance of Jesus. And our self-abnegation will do likewise.
John knew surely that he was the Elijah prophet- for he consciously was preparing the way of Messiah and calling Israel to repentance. He was preaching in the very wilderness area from where Elijah had been taken up at the conclusion of his ministry; and he surely consciously chose to dress with the hairy garment and leather belt which had been Elijah's badge of office (1 Kings 1:8; 2:13,14). It's also been pointed out that the Essenese and other Jewish groups at the time taught self-baptism, whereas John was consciously baptizing people himself, as if he saw himself as specifically preparing them for something. The Lord Himself of course understood John to have been the Elijah prophet. And yet- John denies he is Elijah, but focuses instead on how he is but a "voice". I therefore conclude that his humility was such that he was totally downplaying his office- as if to say 'I am so much a mere voice, that effectively I'm not the Elijah prophet- the message I preach is so far more important than the office I bear'. Those who bear 'offices' in the church of Jesus would do well to have his spirit. Perhaps this is why he seems to have made very few personal disciples- although thousands were baptized by him, having been so impressed by his message. The Epistles of Clement number his disciples at about 30; and Jn. 4:1 comments that the Lord Jesus made more disciples than John did. I take this as a fine reflection upon his selfless witness, focusing so much on his message rather than developing any personal following. He was 'the friend of the bridegroom', the one who arranged the marriage of the bridegroom and sought out the bride. And that, really, is what we are about too, with all the sense of dedication and earnestness which a such a person has when aiming to find a partner for one they know to be a truly good man.
When asked who he was, John’s reply was simply: “a voice”. He was nothing; his message about Jesus was everything. In all this there is a far cry from the self-confident, self-projecting speaking off the podium which characterizes so much of our ‘preaching’ today. So John’s appeal to repentance was shot through with a recognition of his own humanity. It wasn’t mere moralizing. We likely don’t preach as John did because we fear that confronting people with their sins is inappropriate for us to do, because we too are sinners. But with recognition of our own humanity, we build a bridge between our audience and ourselves. In this context it's worth reconsidering Lk. 3:7: "Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?". John said these words to those who were coming to him wishing to be baptized by him- exactly because he had warned them of the wrath to come. It's possible that John meant this as a rhetorical reflection, thus enabling us to paraphrase him something like this: 'And what kind of man am I, who am I, just another sinful guy like you, who has warned you to flee? I'm nothing- don't get baptized because of me, but because you repent and are committed to bringing forth the fruits of repentance".
And it’s worth meditating that if Israel had responded to his preaching, then the glorious salvation of God might have even then been revealed in the form of the Kingdom coming on earth, even then. But instead of heeding John’s message, Israel in the end crucified their King, necessitating a latter day John the Baptist mission (Mt. 11:13,14; 17:11,12). And it’s not going too far to suggest that our latter day witness to Israel and indeed to the world is to conducted in the spirit of John’s preaching; hence the crucial importance of understanding the spirit and content of his witness. John clearly had a strong sense of mission. Notice how many times he uses the “emphatic I”: “I am not the Christ… I am not [Elijah]… I am the voice… I baptize with water… I am not worthy… he of whom I said… I knew him not… therefore am I come baptizing… I knew him not… I saw… I am not the Christ… I am sent before… I said…” (Jn. 1:20,23,26,27,30,31,33,34; 3:28). This stands out in the Greek text. The same sense of realizing who we are, what our aims and mission are, should characterize our witness. He testified what he ‘saw and heard’ (Jn. 3:32), and we are called to do likewise (1 Jn. 1:1,3). For John’s witness prior to the Lord’s first coming is to be repeated by us prior to His second coming. Four times in the New Testament we read of John ‘preparing the way’ for the Lord’s return; the only other time we meet that phrase is in Rev. 16:12, where in the very last days, the way of the Kings [or, the one great King- the Lord Jesus] is likewise to be prepared.
Eph. 6:15 speaks of our each being 'sandalled' with the preparation of the
Gospel. Who prepared the way of the Lord by preaching, wearing sandals? John
the Baptist. It seems Paul is alluding to John here, setting him up as the preacher's
example.The reference to "loins girt" (Eph. 6:14) would also be a
John allusion- the record twice (in Mt. 3:4; Mk. 1:6) stresses how John had
his 'loins girded'. The Lord spoke of how if we confess Him before men, He will
confess knowledge of us before the Father; and if we deny Him, He will deny
us (Mt. 10:32). This language is applied by John to John the Baptist- for he
comments that John the Baptist "confessed and denied not, but confessed,
I am not the Christ" (Jn. 1:20). In this sense, John Baptist is being set
up as our example in preaching- and again, John comments that we too are to
confess the Son and not deny Him (1 Jn. 2:23), after the pattern of John the
Baptist. And yet note what John's 'confession' was- it was a profession of his
unworthiness, that although he was the herald of the Christ, he was not Jesus.
Again, we see here a pattern for our witness to the Lord.
(1) Ketubot 96a, quoted in Charles Scobie, John The Baptist (London: SCM, 1964) p. 67.