John the baptizer was an outdoorsy-type. I love the rugged description of him in this week’s reading from Mark 1:4-11. Camel’s hair clothing (it’s all the rage, you know) with a leather belt (not purchased from a designer).

He sounds like the Old Testament prophet he is often compared to, and even identified with, Elijah. In 2 Kings 2:8, Elijah is described like this: "A hairy man, with a leather belt around his waist."

It’s possible that John was presenting himself as the new Elijah – the one that was here to begin the restoration of all things. It’s also possible that he lived the rugged life as a curiosity to get more people to come and investigate this strange wilderness man.

He had a diet that sounds like a challenge on that old TV show Fear Factor.

“Who wants to go see the guy that eats bugs and honey? This should be fun!”

OK -- Locusts and wild honey. Still -Ew.

And while the curious were there to see the side show, they heard a message they couldn’t forget.

Return to God – be baptized – be forgiven.

Without the benefit of any of the temple priests for mediation.

Oh my. Let the trouble begin.

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