Summary: This is a monolog I wrote for a student at a Christian High School, then later I performed it myself. It incorporates John’s message, first of repentance, then of pointing people to Jesus as the Messiah.
Introduction (I had someone read this before I came to the platform)
It was a dark and discouraging time in Israel. A time of cultural and political unrest. But for men and women who knew God and were sensitive to Him, it was a time for prayer and seeking, a time of hope that He was about to do a new thing among His chosen people.
Into this time of turmoil and expectation, came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. He was not the Light of God, but he came to testify to the coming Light. His ministry was deep in the wilderness of the River Jordan. His work paved the way and opened men’s hearts for the great and powerful work of God which would be done in and through Jesus the Messiah.
I wonder, at the end of John’s life, in the twilight His ministry, how John might have spoken to us....
Shalom! It is good to have visitors. I must confess, it does get lonely here in this dark prison. My men come to see me from time to time as they are permitted by the guards, but--that is not very often.
As I have been here these weeks, I have thought much about all that has occurred these last years. I must think of the great grace of God which allowed me the privilege of showing men and women the Way.
It all began, you know, when my father received the word that, at long last, in his old age, he was to receive a son. He used to laugh so when he would tell the story; there he was -- in the temple, serving as priest in the holy place -- when suddenly! --- suddenly the angel appeared to him.
That was certainly not what he expected as he performed his priestly duties. My poor father was terrified. But - the angel was there, and then he spoke to him:
Do not be afraid Zechariah; God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name of John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many people will rejoice because of his birth, for he will will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will turn many of the people of Israel back to the Lord, their God. He will walk before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make people ready for the Lord.
And then, as only my father could, in his great fear, he also expressed his doubts about all the angel had said. He asked, But, how can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.
The response from the angel was swift:
I am Gabriel! I stand in the presence of God and I have been sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not be able to speak until the day all of this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.
And it happened just that way. After my birth, when my father gave me the name of John, writing it on a tablet, he was freed again from his muteness.
And God took control of my life. I cannot recall a time when I did not love Him and desire that He have all of me. Early in life, I took to wandering about in the wilderness and meditating on the Holy Scripture. And God began to reveal His message:
I was simply a voice, a voice of one crying out in the wilderness saying, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him".
Through His Word, God made clear that Messiah Himself was about to come into our presence. But we were not ready.
We were not prepared to welcome Him, nor to honor Him, nor to believe in Him and obey Him. God gave me a message to preach--
Repent, because God’s Kingdom close at hand. Repent and be baptized to acknowledge your sinfulness before the Holy God who will soon work powerfully among us.
For a time, a great many people came. They came, sorry for their ways, confessing their sin. They came, realizing that they had cared only to obey God’s Law outwardly, to make a pretense for others. Just as God said through His prophet, These people honor Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me.
They came for baptism showing repentance. They remained to hear the message God gave me. Sometimes, the "Leaders of Israel", the Scribes and the Pharisees, came as well. They would come to the place at the river where people assembled to be baptized. But, as with their other actions, they wanted only to make a spectacle to obtain the applause of men. And I knew that God clearly would not allow this pretense.