Yes, he certainly knew how to get people to sit up and take notice. We are told in the Gospel passage from Sunday (Matthew 3:1-12) that John the Baptist, when he saw Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him for baptism, cried out: “You brood of vipers!” That must have caught their attention. Not exactly the approach Dale Carnegie had in mind when he wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People.

The Baptizer was no less direct with anyone else that came to him at the Jordan river. His one command not only echoed across the wilderness but also reverberated in the minds and hearts of all who received it: “Repent!” His was a clear and direct call to everyone to wake up to the sin in their lives, seek forgiveness from God and begin (or begin again) to live in accord with the commands of the Almighty.

The Jordan River today. Many pilgrims come to this site on both sides to renew their baptism vows.Lincoln Ho, Grandin Media

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