"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
When Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code was published, it did something that many biblical scholars were not able to do. It posed difficult questions about the role of women in Jesus' life and in the early church, and brought these questions to the forefront of biblical conversations.
Many grew up with only a sketchy acquaintance with the many women whose stories march through the pages of the Old and New Testaments. Their stories were not told, and their heroism was unsung. Today, however, more and more scholars are turning their attention to the stories of those women of valor. Nowhere are they as prominent and as central as in the Gospel of John. Judith Kaye Jones contends that the Gospel of John does not just include stories about women, it is structured around stories of women. In this unique testament, women and their encounters with Jesus provide the framework for the central message of Jesus.