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One of our good friends had the unique experience of growing up as the son of a county sheriff. His father, who was the sheriff of Marlin County for many years, passed away last year. It was at this time that he told us of an incident which had happened many years before:

A gentleman who had been confined to a wheelchair for years told him about the first time he had met his father. There was a circus in town and he had gone. He had bought his ticket, but when he reached the gate he learned that his wheelchair was too wide to pass through it. The circus people seemed unwilling to do anything to help. The Sheriff arrived on the scene at this moment and, sizing up the situation, promptly kicked down the gate. That gate was never again put up, and the man went to the circuses from year to year without any difficulty.

The Sheriff, I fear, was one of the last of a dying breed of sheriffs. The stories of such men are still swapped, but there seem to be few peace officers like these any more.

I tend to think of John the Baptist as this kind of man, a unique man, with heroic qualities, and yet a man who was the last of a vanishing breeds - the Old Testament prophet: a man whom God assigned to prepare and usher in the ministry of Christ on earth.

What is our role as preparers and ushers of the glory of the Spirit of God on earth today?

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