You remember about the child that was called John. Zacharias, his father, and Elisabeth gave John to God directly he was born. They never cut his hair, and they never let him drink wine, or eat grapes, or eat raisins. That was the way they did in those days to show that he belonged to God.
When John was old enough to understand, he gave himself to God. And as he grew older, he made up his mind that he would leave his home and friends, and go and live in the wilderness; and his food there was locusts and wild honey. Locusts are like large grasshoppers, and poor people in the East often eat them. They taste like shrimps, but are not so nice.
God had said that John should go before the Messiah to prepare the way for Him -- to get people's hearts ready for the Saviour. And when John was in the wilderness, God told him to begin his work. So John went down from the wild hills of Judaea to the River Jordan, and he began to preach to everyone who passed by. There were many people passing by, for he went to the place where people crossed the Jordan.
[Illustration: The River Jordan.]
John said, REPENT!' (that means, 'Be really sorry for your sins'), 'FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is AT HAND.' A very great many people went from Jerusalem, and out of all the land of Judaea, on purpose to hear John preaching. And when they had heard him, some of them said to him, 'What shall we do then?' And John told them that they were to be kind to one another; that they were to give food to the hungry and clothing to the naked.
Some even of the proud Rabbis came down to the Jordan to John, and John told these Rabbis that they must not be proud because they were Jews, but must try to be good really and truly.
A great many of the people who heard John preach felt sorry for the things they had done, and they told John how sorry they were, and John baptized them in the River Jordan. John told the people that he could only baptize their bodies with water, but that some one else was coming who would be able to baptize their hearts with the Holy Spirit. This was Jesus.
[Illustration: Jericho, from plains above.]
After John had baptized a great many persons, he saw coming to him, one day, for baptism, a Man about thirty years old; and when John looked at Him, he saw that He was quite different from all the people who had been to him before. It was Jesus who had come to be baptized before He began His work. He wanted to obey God in everything; and He wanted to show that He was the Brother and Friend of all the people whom John had been baptizing. And so, as Jesus wished it, John went into the River Jordan with Him and baptized Him.
When Jesus had been baptized, and was full of the Holy Spirit, He went away into a wilderness. And there, when Jesus was tired and hungry, Satan came to Him -- just as he came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden -- to tempt Him.
To tempt means to try. Mother tries you sometimes, to see whether you can be trusted; and God tries us all sometimes. But if God tries us, it is to make us better; and if Satan tries us, it is to make us worse.
Every time that Jesus was tempted, He said, 'It is written,' and then He told Satan something 'which was written in the Bible. That is the very best way to fight Satan. The Bible is called 'the Sword of the Spirit,' and Satan is afraid when he sees us using that Sword. Let us ask God to fill us, like Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, and then we shall soon learn how to use the Sword of the Spirit, and we too shall be able to drive Satan away when he comes to tempt us.
Only we must be sure to read the Bible, as Jesus used to do, or else we shall never be able to drive Satan away by telling him the things that God has written there.