My son and I went to a Bible study group last night. It was conducted by a very famous Bible expert.
I have purchased his Bible study materials and find them very interesting and helpful. I have always been frustrated that the church whips thru each book of scripture so we can keep our rotation going. Our "non-member" friends get to study in great depth, we get to skim. Anyway this weekly class is going to take 48 weeks just to study Matthew!
Talking about John the Baptist this Bible expert brings up some interesting insights. Why would some preacher in the wilderness, 20 miles away from Jeresalem, cause such a stir to bring people that far? Was it his message "Repent – you sinners" (not a great motivational message), "Be baptized" interesting ordainance – but….and "remission of sins", now that’s a good promise except the jews already had temple ordainances to take care of this…so why go 20 miles to see this guy? Any why would the Jewish leaders send a delegation to question him?
Our Bible expert speculates that part of the reason may have been what John was wearing. According to him when Elijah was taken into heaven he left his cloak/clothes behind. This cloak (by some traditions) was taken and stored in the Tabernacle and eventually stored in the Temple. When John’s father was in the Temple he took the cloak and gave it to his son, knowing the calling his son had and it’s importance.
Therefore people heard about this guy in the wilderness acting like a prophet…calling people to repentence…dressed in Elijah’s cloak. Now that might be worth walking 20 miles to see. And the Jewish delegation went to see and asked him specifically if he was Elijah.
I certainly wouldn’t wholeheartedly accept this idea, but I do find it interesting. He also had many more details that we never get to think about or discuss in our normal church studies.