John the Dunker
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, John, son of Zechariah, was living in the wilderness where he dressed like a camel and ate nothing but locusts and bees. 2 God decided that this socially-backward hermit would be the perfect guy to use as a mouthpiece, 3 so he slapped a sandwich board on him reading Repent, the end is nigh! and sent him to preach doom and gloom by the bank of the River Jordan.
4 The following poem comes from the Book of Isaiah:
Somewhere in the desert,
There’s a voice calling out to heard,
Sending out a message,
Preaching something they call the good word.
Are you ready for the messiah?
Gonna baptise you with his fire,
But he can’t handle corners, so be sure that his path is straight.
Gonna carve the valleys.
Gonna plane down the mountains and hills.
Gonna sand your rough parts,
With his messianic carpentry skills.
Are you ready for the messiah?
As foretold by the prophet Isaiah,
With a smidgen of Malachi, but only in the Book of Mark.
7 People came from miles around to listen to John’s inane ranting, much to his annoyance. On one occasion, the crowd got too close to him, so he yelled at them, ‘You brood of vipers! Get the hell away from me!’ and started furiously dunking them in the water. Unfortunately, the people thought this was some kind of purification ritual, and they started following him. This infuriated him even more.
8 ‘Beware, the wrath of God is coming for you!’ he raved. ‘Don’t think that your father Abraham will save you! 9 You’re all going to be mowed down and cast into the fire like diseased trees!’
10 The crowd was terrified. ‘What can we do?’ they cried. ‘How can we be saved?’
11 John answered, ‘If anyone has two shirts, put one of them on your donkey. If you have too much food, go out and feed the bears.’
‘And this will save us from God’s wrath?’ they asked in puzzlement.
12 A man called out to him, ‘I’m a taxman. What should I do?’
13 ‘Stop extorting money from people!’ retorted John.
‘But I don’t…’ protested the man.
14 ‘Yes, you do! You go around making false accusations and hoarding money in your big mansion! You’re a vile sinner and you will be burned!’
The rest of the crowd began to boo the man and pelt him with rancid fruit.
‘But… but…’ whined the man, trying to shield himself.
15 A woman shouted, ‘Are you the messiah?’
16 John answered, ‘I immersed you all in water, but know this, a man is coming who is more powerful than I! He will immerse you in fire! 17 He has huge horns, he carries a pitch fork, and he will burn you with his unquenchable flames like chaff!’
‘Who?’ gasped the woman.
He thrust out his finger accusingly and yelled, ‘Jebediah the farmer!’
18 The people turned to look at Jebediah who was quietly chewing a stalk of corn at the back of the crowd. He gulped sharply and scarpered, pursued by the angry villagers.
Just then, Jesus arrived from Galilee. ‘Hi, John,’ he said warmly.
‘Oh, hi, Jesus,’ groaned John.
‘This is a nice group of followers you have here, cuz. I’ve got to get myself a congregation.’
‘You can fucking have them!’ spat John. ‘They keep touching all my stuff!’
‘Now, now, John,’ sighed Jesus. ‘You’re putting out kind of a negative vibe. Do you need me to baptise you?’
14 John started to tremble with rage, and his eye twitched uncontrollably. ‘I do the baptisms around here!’
15 ‘But I’m the messiah,’ retorted Jesus.
‘And I’m John the fucking Baptist!’ screamed John, barging Jesus into the water.
As the people stared on in astonishment, the two men struggled, each trying to duck the other under the water.
16 Suddenly, the Heavens opened, and a voice bellowed, 17 ‘Boys! If you don’t play nice, I’ll have to separate you!’
‘But Dad!’ whinged Jesus.
‘Don’t bloody Dad me!’ rebuked God.