The prophet Malachi's book ends with a prophecy that the great Elijah would return (nb* Schoolteachers teaching Passover , and the empty place for Elijah!). Thus the Old Testament concludes with a promise which is fulfilled a few pages later at the beginning of the New because as Jesus explains to his disciples
(Matt 11:14) John the Baptist is the Elijah who was to return'.
But to get back to the scene on the banks of the Jordan I feel there is something we can learn from the people who gathered there. They were the people of hope, people who understood their weakness, their need for God and for a renewed relationship with him. They were people-perhaps like us-who found no satisfaction in a world of materialism and hypocrisy. Just as their world was 'occupied' by the forces of secularism and unbelief , so is ours today.........................................
John was the first great witness, and we are called to be like him,to make the challenge of faith that will shine out and give hope to others. But how can this be? How can a helpless creature like me possibly give life to others? Jesus says of John
'of all the children born of women,a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen;yet the least in the kingdom is greater than he is '(Matt11:11).
The answer ,then, is the Holy Spirit.
*Great site for children learning about the Jewish faith