One day whilst planning a holiday to a Caribbean island, I was looking through all the glossy brochures and magazines and all you could see was beautifully blue water, amazingly azure sky without a cloud anywhere, smiling people drinking ice-cold drinks and splashing each other with the cool water. There were hammocks and beach loungers, there were shady palms and air-conditioned rooms, water-skiers and scuba divers, sun-tanners and volleyball players and there was fun round every corner. There was no way you could look at those wonderful scenes and not desire to go there for a holiday. But then I remembered something I had read in the Bible that day. It was about how the people of Jerusalem followed John the Baptist into the dirty, dusty, dry desert to hear him preach. What a contrast to the wonderful Caribbean scenery but still people went into the desert.
People went to John in spite of the following reasons:
1. He was preaching an unpopular message. We don't really want to keep hearing preachers telling us that we are all going to hell, that or lives are rotten and that we need to change our lifestyles, that we must hand control of our lives over to God and that we must love those who hate us. Our response to this is that we go off and find messages that appeal to us and are much easier to accept, such as Scientology which says that man is basically good, or universalists who find good in everything around us even if it is evil. Even the Flower Power generation lived by their own commandment "if it feels good, do it!"
2. He preached in the dessert. The dessert is a place of extreme weather with boiling-hot days and freezing cold nights, the air is dry but there are no Coke vending machines handily placed nearby. There is the possibility of dust storms blowing and causing discomfort and even death. There were no luxurious hotels with air-conditioning and swimming pools nearby. Also the only shade available w ...
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