William Chaplar (August 18,1961 / Trenton, New Jersey)
The Very Least Among Them
An angel told Zacharias that his prayer had been heard,
then struck him mute for uttering a disbelieving word.
Lo and behold, his voice returned when his son John was born;
a child whose death would one day, by the king of kings, be mourned.
For it was written prophecy that John's voice would be heard
shouting in the wilderness to pay heed to his words.
"Prepare the way of the Lord! " he'd say. "His paths you must make straight!
The salvation of God is something all should celebrate! "
So John fulfilled the prophecy Isaiah's words laid down,
and in the River Jordan would his name become renowned.
For it was here his baptisms would earn him high acclaim.
But only one such baptism immortalized his name.
When Jesus came from Galilee and put John's mind at ease,
a voice above said, "This is My son, in whom I'm well pleased."
But John was put in prison to sate Herodias's ire.
And while there, he was told of all the things that had transpired.
So he sent messengers to ask of Jesus, "What's the deal?
Are you the one whose coming was foretold? Are you for real? "
And Jesus, who was busy healing sick and giving sight,
to John's disciples gave an answer that would shed some light.
"Tell John the blind now see; the lame now walk; the deaf now hear.
And blessed are those who hear my words and still can hold me dear."
And so John's friends went back to report what they'd seen that day.
When they left, to the gathered crowd, these words did Jesus say:
"Assuredly I say to you, of those of women born,
none greater than the Baptist has thy Father's love adorned.
But even still, in Heaven, where God's faithful soon will be,
the very least among them will be greater still than he."
But John the Baptist's tribulations hadn't ended yet.
For on his death, King Herod's spouse's mind was still dead set.
The Baptist's scorn of Herod's wife—his brother's wife before—
had caused Queen Herodias, John the Baptist to abhor.
And so she schemed to take his life and came up with a plan
in which she'd use her daughter's beauty to entice her man
to execute the Baptist for the awful things he'd said.
And she would lie down easy, then, with John the Baptist dead.
So the queen sent in her daughter with her eyes set on the prize,
and the beauty deftly danced before King Herod's lustful eyes.
When she was done, he promised that her wish was his mandate.
To which she said, "I only want John's head upon a plate."
And thus it was that John the Baptist, this world would vacate.
But for his place in Heaven, he would not have long to wait.
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