19 "Still," John answered, "I would be troubled to speak. How would we marry? We cannot stand before her priests, or, ours."
20 And Helena's voice came from behind them. "If Jesus was but to put our hands together and say 'Woman, this is your husband, man, this is your wife,' then all would be good with me and my family. Do you think we are ignorant, John? Do you not think that we have read your Scriptures, that we know who He is, and who you are?"
21 Both Jesus and John turned slowly to face her. She extended her hand and John took it "Will you wait for us, Jesus," she asked, "while we speak with my father?"
22 "If I had to wait for eternity," Jesus answered, "I would do so, but I know in less than an hour you will return to me with all your kinsmen."
23 So it was, in the garden with all the family and the servants to witness, Jesus joined them, one to the other. When He was done He raised his eyes to Heaven and cried out, "Oh, Father, of all the things that You permit me to do, this, of all of them, is the most joyous! Because of it let those who would do evil beware. For the Glory of God shall continue on to every generation!"
24 Now, John's own family was told of the secret and they, too, rejoiced. But none others were allowed to know, to protect his wife and children. These were times of joy, for John and Jesus, to prepare them for the hours to come.
JOHN BEGINS BAPTISING
Now, when Tiberius Ceasar had ruled Rome for fifteen years, in the time that Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea when Herod was regent of Galilee, his brother Philip, regent of Ituraea when Anaas and Caiaphas were High Priests of God's Temple in Jerusalem, John, the son of Zacharias, began to preach the Word Of God in the wilderness.
2 He came into all the country about Jordan preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, to fulfill that which was written by the prophet Esaias.
3 "'There shall be a voice crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare ye the way of The Lord, make His Path straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough way shall be made smooth, and all the flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
4 Then said he to the multitude, "Come you forth and be baptized of Him, oh generation of vipers. Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruits, therefore, worthy of repentance. Begin not to say within yourselves, 'We have abraham to our Father,' for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to rise up children unto Abraham, and now, also, the ax is laid into the root of the trees. Every tree, therefore, that branches not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire."
5 The people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?"
6 He answered, saying unto them, "He that hath two coats let him impart to him that hath none, and he that has meat, let him do likewise."
7 Then came also Publicans to him to be baptised, and said unto him, "Master, what shall WE do?"
8 He said unto them, "Expect no more than that which is appointed to you."
9 The soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, "What shall we do?"
10 He said unto them, "Be violent to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages."
11 The people were greatly excited. All men wondered in their hearts of John, whether he was The Christ or not.
12 John answered them, saying, "Think you not, I am Him. I baptize you with water, but one comes after me whose laces I am not worthy to undo. He shall baptize you with The Holy Ghost and with fire. Unto Him nations shall fall. By His words shall rulers tremble. He shall put into the hearts of men an unquenchable fire that no sorrow will be able to extinguish."
13 Many other things did John preach boldly, even the crimes of Herod did he speak of boldly, of the betrayal of his brother Philip, of the stealing of his wife and all the evil things that Herod had done. John's teachings spread throughout the nation.
14 Word of it came to the Roman camp in Judaea. A young officer went up to see his commander. Upon seeing him his commander's heart was heavy. "What is this nonsense, Demetrius," he complained, "that you must depart from me?"
15 When they were alone the young man made a sign with his hand, which the elder acknowledged.
16 "I must go up into Galilee," the younger man answered. "A new prophet is coming to the children of Israel, I must go up to journey with him, perhaps to change that that He would do into a better course for all mankind. Though there is little hope of it we will at least try."
17 The elder man bowed his head in sadness. "Lonely will this station be without your company. Take this letter, that all may know you are a free agent under my order, that if any deny your authority they answer to me."
18 The younger man bowed, took the letter, and departed. His feet carried him into Galilee, into Nazareth. As he neared the city, he was thirsty. Passing by a house a woman called out to him, handing him a cup of water.
19 "Thank you, madame," the Roman acknowledged. "Do I know you?"
20 The woman smiled. "No," she answered, "but I knew your father."
21 The young man smiled. Bowing politely he continued on his way.
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