Along Came John…

“Vast Voyage” (Theme Song from “High Seas Expedition”)
Uploaded on Aug 20, 2010 – Group’s Easy VBS Media [53,534+]

The history of Jesus actually begins with his cousin John, the son of Elisabeth who was an elder cousin of Jesus’ mother Mary. Fittingly, the ministry of Jesus also begins with His encounter with John. Let’s start with the “Gospel of Luke” in the New Testament.

Luke 3:1-20 [King James version]
1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;4As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophetA, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;6And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.7Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.10And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.15And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.18And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. 19But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.

Who came into Jordan preaching the “baptism of repentance”? John the son of Zacharias
What prompted him to preach?the word of God came to him [John]
What kind of baptism did he preach?baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
When and where did this happen?Historically, during the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (which historians place the beginning of his reign as 14 AD and ending in 37 AD) or about 29 AD., John came into the area all around the Jordan River which provided the water for performing the immersions (i.e., baptisms). The Jordan River runs south from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea, in the land along the east shores of the Mediterranean Sea including Judea, Samaria and Galilee to the west of the Jordan as well as Perea and Decapolis to the east of the Jordan. [See a detailed map]
This situation references what text in the Old Testament?Writings of Esaias the prophet (also spelled Isaiah) as recorded in chapter 40 of the Book of IsaiahA
What did John say to those who came to him?“Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance”. He also mentioned “wrath to come.”
Was John talking about physical fruit from orchards or gardens? or was he speaking in metaphors?When John answered the question, “What shall we do then?” he answered with concrete actions for people to take rather than harvesting instructions. If one has two coats then give a coat to someone who has none; do the same with “meat” (or could that be “food” in general?). John also gave occupation-specific instructions to tax collectors and soldiers. Apparently, his scolding of Herod eventually landed him in prison.
Are there other Bible passages that reveal what John taught?Yes, John is mentioned in all the Gospel accounts attributed to MatthewB, MarkC, and JohnD as well as here by Luke. He spoke of the “kingdom of heaven” saying that “it is at hand”. It seems the remark about vipers was actually directed to the religious leaders of that time, the Pharisees and Sadducees.
What do these passages say about who John was?John earned the moniker “John the Baptist” (or baptizer) because of his activity at the Jordan River. Matthew and Mark’s accounts describe John’s apparel and diet. Matthew’s account states explicitly that John is the person of whom the prophet Isaiah foretold; Mark’s account makes it clear that the “voice in the wilderness” belongs to a person who was sent to prepare the way for yet someone else.
What did John say about himself, about who he was?According to the “Gospel of John”, referring to John the Baptist, “this is the record of John”: most clearly identified himself saying, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” He emphasized who he was by declaring whom he was NOT–not the Christ, not Elias (or Elijah), not “that prophet.” John distinguished himself as the one who baptizes with water and directed the audience attention toward another who would come after him.
What can we know about John’s conception, birth and purpose?Luke’s chronologyE of the gospel begins with the announcement of John’s conception and purpose: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” As we see from the texts discussed thus far, indeed, Johns seems to have fulfilled his destined role of being the herald of the Gospel.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus Christ.

A Isaiah 40:1-5 [King James version]
1Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.3The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

B Matthew 3:1-12 [King James version]
1In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.3For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.4And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

C Mark 1:1-8 [King James version]
1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;2As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.3The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.4John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

D John 1:19-28 [King James version]
19And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.24And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

E Luke 1:5-45 [King James version]
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.8And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.18And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.24And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.39And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; 40and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth. 41And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; 42and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me? 44For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.

LOL, the title of this post reminded me of a song . . . .

“Along Came Jones” by Ray Stevens
Published on Jun 12, 2013 – raystevensmusic [160,871+]

Terraces of the Global Foodshed

Like it or not, this is the reality of the current industrial food system with its monocultures, herbicides/pesticides, GMO crops, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) geared for mass production. Is it sustainable? Is there a better way?

“Farmers Feed the World” (Watch Me, Hit the Quan, Uptown Funk Parody)
Uploaded on Jan 20, 2009 – Peterson Farm Bros [854,462+]

We can certainly cultivate far more culture via holistic farming and improved, innovative farming practices that are ecologically sound. To bear good fruit, we’ll need wise stewards of the land and a transformation of hearts.

“Food”, that all-important word that stands for how entities are nourished. “Nourished” is not simply being fed or having one stuffed with consumable matter; it’s about sustenance, that which sustains, heals, cultivates and enables us to grow in stature, strength and/or other capacities.

“Shed”, a protective shelter to safeguard someone and/or something, also implies a bestowal like an “outpouring”. “Foodshed” can be viewed as that system which provides for the production, storage and distribution of food; managed appropriately, a foodshed can shower the bounty of Earth’s goodness upon all of us.

If we were to consider all the world not merely a stage but a storehouse and we not merely as players but as stewards and diners at one table (albeit, a huge table), how might we behave in this world? How might we treat one another? How might we treat the Earth and the abundance within it?

As at any joyous feast where the baskets and platters are passed around and all are able to fill their plates according to their own tastes and appetites, there is no need for greediness or hoarding; even those preparing and serving the food are adequately fed. Imagine a world of bounty that was no longer shackled by the illusion of scarcity–how would that world operate?

We are blessed with a diversity of palates and preferences such that all of us can be satisfied with the variety of foods available here on our home planet Earth. At any given moment, there’s a finite but adequate amount a food available to be eaten; our challenge is to ensure that the food is accessible and acceptable and that it continues to be available.

The AAA Foodshed–acceptable, available and accessible–that is what would deserves our concern. We could focus our resources on the quality, abundance and distribution of food locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, even globally. These are the “terraces” of the global foodshed. Each terrace encompasses its own challenges and advantages; each merits due consideration in managing and sustaining its operation.

Like most effective and efficient systems, the terraces of the foodshed are best governed as close to the source as possible but with flexibility to allow for innovations. Indeed, by involving minimal bureaucracy to ensure quality, the system can be self-regulating for the most part; beyond that, any regulation needs to be scale-appropriate to ensure availability and accessibility.

Food distributed locally and/or direct to consumers requires the least scrutiny as the stream of commerce can regulate itself in most cases. A food provider lacking in quality will not be sourced for the long-term. When the producer and recipient are aware of each other, the obligation to fulfill the bond of trust is more keenly felt. Should a quality problem arise, the food is easily traced back to the source and more quickly resolved. Where the direct relationship is nurtured, the parties feel a sense of gratitude and responsibility to ensure only goodness is shared; this offers a transparency unmatched by large-scale, distant producers.

On a regional level, including intrastate commerce, traceability is key in monitoring quality. The distances between producer and consumer are manageable enough for a relatively small team to track down the source of any quality problems that arise. At this level, reputation and maintaining market share are suitable inducements to motivate producers to be vigilant in care given to producing acceptable food.

The real challenge is food that is distributed nationally because of the sheer volume and dispersion of food products. Recognizing a duty to look out for the well-being of our fellow members of society, large-scale producers can infuse throughout their operations a sense of pride in workmanship that insists on quality and refuses to compromise the integrity of food products.

Quality must be an integral ingredient of the process from start to finish, essentially built in. Just as one cannot inject “quality” into a finished product, one cannot “inspect” bad quality out. Inspection is a tool for verifying quality; system integrity and the integrity of management and all contributors is the requirement. At this level, transparency with impunity and clear traceability are needed for effective monitoring.

When a high degree of trustworthiness is established by a track record of quality then there is confidence enough to distribute food products internationally or even on a global scale. Monitoring and traceability must remain in place to detect and resolve may quality issues that may arise. If the goal is to provide for a wholesome foodshed, then the aim is not to seek prosecution so much as to ensure that any deficiencies in the system are rectified.

How can such transparency, traceability and quality monitoring occur? Revolutionizing our attitudes toward our fellow humans would be a noble endeavor. If I were to view others as part of my loving family–unfortunately, not everyone has experienced genuine love–then I would seek to be of service to my community and desire to be a worthy recipient of its bestowals. This is neither whim nor idle fancy; it’s a real possibility and it’s been modeled in parts of the world.

Let us get busy setting the global table and cultivating friendships so that each one of us will have a seat and a plate to satisfy our palates.

Join us for the journey into a whole new world . . .

“A Whole New World” sung by Chauncey Matthews and Ruben Stoddard
Uploaded on Sep 9, 2006 – ellieishappy [47,063+]