It was on day seven that I found myself alone at the top of a place called Mukawir, a fortress in Jordan belonging to Herod Antipas where John the Baptist was imprisoned and then killed. I had come to Jordan to help in the filming of a short piece on the Biblical sites. Every day held some new adventure and it was the most I had ever been in the front of the camera. However, day seven proved to be the most memorable of adventures. Just me, on top of the ruins of a fortress and a drone filming me overhead. Somehow we had managed to choose a time in which there were no other tourists.
Mukawir held an incredible view of the Dead Sea and on a clear day, the towers of Jerusalem. It was just me all alone on the top of of this mountain. Once filming was done, I had time to worship, reflect, and just be still with God. I stood looking out into the sea and down the hillside to the various caves that John the Baptist was believed to have been held.
A cave wouldn’t have been unfamiliar to this man as he had been known to call a cave his home. Jesus called him, “the greatest of men.” He led a simple life and yet supposedly some scholars argue that he was treated well in captivity as Herod Antipas carried some fear/respect for John. But the thing I wondered most is not found in any document or Bible verse. What were John’s final thoughts before his life was taken?
It was so quiet on top of that mountain. The wind was the only sound that I could hear. As I reflected on the famous life taken at the very spot I stood, I was humbled. John lived and died for a cause greater than himself. I can imagine he suspected he would die and that he felt his cause and message worth the cost. John the Baptist was a man who had been given the job of preparing the way for Jesus. This job had required consistent preparation, waiting, hoping and trusting.
Finally, the day comes and Jesus walks down the hill and is baptized by John. Then shortly after this event, John is arrested and placed in prison (Machareus/Mukawir Matthew 14:3). Once again, he is waiting and hoping and trusting. At one point, he even sends his disciples to check that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. Jesus confirms his identity to John’s disciples. And then we hear nothing else about John until his death.
“….we who have taken refuge may have powerful encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us, which we have like an anchor of the soul, both firm and steadfast, and entering into the inside of the curtain, where Jesus, the forerunner for us, entered, because He became a high priest forever….”Hebrews 6:18-20