A man sits. He sits at a portable scribes desk, placed on a table. He is sitting, contemplating, as he gazes out a window. His shoes show the weathered patterns of their owner's long years on the road. His face is creased with his age, but even more so the life he has led. He often marvels at what he has seen and experienced. White streaks, sometimes he thinks from the terrifying events he has gone through, his dark, auburn hair. He runs his fingers through these tested locks, and contemplates what he should say to such a man as Theophilus. It is not every day, one is invited by the high priest to write for him the testimony. To think, this is the third time. He fondles the candle and raises his eyes.
Outside, the dawn approaches and people are rising for their days work. So is he, but of a different kind. His mind is occupied with other things of more importance. He waits to write. He is waiting for the Light to shine fully upon his desk. What light, there is, comes in low; barely illuminating the desk, let alone the room behind him in which he waits. It caresses the outlines of all that it touches.
He had retreated to this friend's home on the outskirts of Jerusalem to begin this book, for there had been too many disturbances in the City. So he had found here a sure spot for the work at hand and a source of information greatly needed -- the family home of Zacariah the priest, John's father. A family member, who now owned it, had given it to the Church because of it's significance to all concerned. AND many of the servants still lived there.
Near his right elbow is neatly prepared, cut, and stacked parchment. His right hand holds a quill, with which he caresses his chin. He is a learned man, in his mid forties. His name is Luke.
"Well, Lord, how shall I begin? What should I speak of, or on, that could aid my brother? How should I write of our beloved John, your cousin? I'm not the apostle that I have known him; and yet his life has had a marked effect on your Church. I have been with Paul many years and see incredible things you do through him; but John? How should I write? What should I write? Why should I write? What should I call this manuscript, that will speak of so great a servant?"
Luke pauses. The Light grows brighter, as the sun begins it's travail above the horizon -- the Darkness giving birth to the Light. Luke lowers his arm and takes a sheet of parchment. He places it before him and waits -- quill ready in anticipation. The sun's rays come full force through the window and illuminate the parchment and his mind. He exclaims: "But of course! "In the Spirit of Elijah". He was prepared to prepare the way before you, Lord. He who was sent to turn the hearts of the people to their Father and thereby their Father to His children. Elijah! Yes. That is how it will begin -- and had begun."
So, Luke dips his quill and writes. The recorded conversations with the apostles John and Andrew, come flooding back. The detailed conversations with Mariam, the Lord's mother and with others, especially with Herod's steward and Nicodemus, before he fell asleep.
So he reaches down to his waterproof, travelling satchel and lifts it up. It contains a treasure house of these testimonies and others, he has gleaned from the disciples. So he draws out this treasure and begins. And so do we.
To the Most Beloved, Theophilus. You have asked me again to provide for you, greater understanding of what happened at the beginning of the Gospel; and so I feel to write to you of John the Baptist, the Lord's cousin - after the flesh.
I advise you, it is a strong story I tell; not one for faint ears. Our beloved Apostle John can tell you, far more than I, of this mighty man of God. It is good, O Theophilus, that you should seek to understand our faith better; but some things are better off not delved into too deeply, unless you are mature in Christ. But as you take after your name, and what a name 'O lover of God', I know you will not be disillusioned by what you read. So here begins my story:
There was a man before us all, who pointed the way to the Lord. You have heard him called John, the Baptist. But, my friend, he was more - much more.
The man appeared more than a man, more than a prophet; and yet he appeared nothing. Much had been expected of him, but as usual God's ways are not ours'.
Here was a man, Nazarite from birth. Imagine, if you can. Here was a man who was trained to deny, and did deny, all things this world can offer: a man like no other, save our Lord - and He IS God!!
Here is a man whose preaching crushed you, destroying ALL you held dear: exposing ALL as idols. No one was spared the insight of God into their soul; to unmask it, to render it naked to your eyes. His words pierced you as flaming swords or arrows. Yet his words prepared the ground for our Lord's message. There was the difference: John's words were as a sharp threshing instruments, tearing at the surface and intent of your heart, leaving nothing unturned or hidden. The words of Jesus were then better able to enter and abide there; bringing comfort, life, truth and understanding. Yet each has it's purpose in God's plan.
And remember, the Lord's admonition to the Pharisees; that because they did not heed John's call to repentance neither would they accept his witness to Jesus.
So here, O splendid Theophilus, we have the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as you know Him: Eshoo Meshikhah, in his native tongue. A story that is told in heaven, beyond all human description. Be prepared my friend, his words will not tickle; his life will confront you; his God will offend you; His power overwhelm you, and in all of this you will be prepared to know God, in Christ.
You have said you would be a saint: BEHOLD THE LIFE OF A SAINT. A life which will confront your every weakness, every lust, every safe and secure thing you have and are. Be prepared to meet your Maker.
So here is the Story of John, the Preacher - the One sent from God.
Author of In the Spirit of Elijah
Preface for "In the Spirit of Elijah"
Jul 18, 2014
I know that the first few times I sat down to write, my hair would stand on end or I would get goose-bumps. I felt I was NOT writing a story but history!? It was scary. I remember praying about what John's prison cell loooked like and being given a picture that was not what I thought it should be; so I drew it. Then later I discovered that that was precisely what the cells were at Herod's palace of Machaerus -- pits with a heavy wooden grid over them.
A fictional tale about John the Baptist
Jul 20, 2014
Drop in on the many conversations that occurred. Behold the terror and devastation of the Prison that becomes his greatest victory. The confusion when God is silent or chooses not to reveal His depth of meaning. The opposition of those who think they serve God but don't. And the darkness of God's love for His servant, as He outworks His perfect will for him.
Trevor Payne, an Australian, is a longtime and dedicated believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who has spent his life in the study of the Scriptures, prayer, fasting and charitable works. He is an avid reader of all things spiritual and feels deeply that far too many Christians are caught up in the 'form of religion' instead of being 'transformed into the image of Christ.'
"In the Spirit of Elijah"
by Trevor Payne
Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Xulon Press
Published March 29, 2013
Prices: Kindle $9.30