By Kate Moorhead

I wish I could sit down with John the Baptist and ask him to tell me about his life. What an autobiography it would make!

John is a fascinating character. In the Gospel of Luke, we hear of his birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth, prestigious Jews who lived in Jerusalem. Zechariah was a high priest in the temple. His son John would
have had the best education, a solid religious upbringing, good food, and beautiful clothing. John was born into the elite class of Judaism.

The next time we see John, he is dressed in camel’s hair and eating bugs. Obviously, there was some major break between his childhood and adulthood. He gave up a life of privilege to serve God. For John,
proclaiming the good news is about shedding all the social privileges of this world in order to rightly see and live into the kingdom of God.

John does not seem to be concerned with what anyone thinks of him. He has let that all go. For John, it is not important to please anyone but God. He always tells the truth about what he sees. When people come to him to be baptized, he can tell that they come only for security and not for discipleship. Their cowardice and selfishness make him angry. John is fiery, untamed, and insistent in his mission and message.

What would John say to you if you came to him to be baptized? Are you ready to give your life to God? Are you ready to be hated by others if that is necessary? John said goodbye to a life of privilege and had
the courage to say yes to God.

The Very Rev. Katherine B. (Kate) Moorehead is the tenth dean of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida. Excerpt from Soul Proclamations: Meditations for Advent, Forward Movement, 2015