Christian Social Network - Christian Blog - Christian Facebook
One of the most interesting and intriguing characters in the New Testament must be John the Baptist. John was a rugged and righteous man who stood against the religious order of the day. John stood for the common people and stood for God.
Who was John the Baptist
* John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, cousin to Jesus
* Forerunner to the Messiah
* Last of the line of Old Testament prophets
* Priest and rabbi – had disciples who followed him
* Practiced baptism for spiritual purification
John revealed a committed lifestyle
John lived a separated life
John was promised to God through a Nazarite vow (Luke 1:15) and would have been seen as dedicated to the service of God, much like Samuel in the Old Testament. The Nazarite vow had various elements to it but it was a dedication to holiness before God. One area for John was abstaining from wine.
John lived a separated life not just in his time in the wilderness but also in his pursuit of holiness. Holiness means to be set apart for the service or us of God. John was set apart before his birth for the unique role he would play in history.
John lived a special life
Luke records the birth narrative of John along with the narrative of Jesus. Luke actually begins his narrative with John, not Jesus. The angel Gabriel visit Zecharias with the announcement of John’s birth. John’s birth happens about six months prior to the birth of Jesus.
John was given a special promise at his birth, he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he was born. There was never a time that John was not filled with the indwelling power of God.
John was the forerunner of Christ. John’s birth was predicted by the prophets; just as the birth of the Messiah. John was the one who prepared the way for Jesus.
John lived surprising faith
John lived out his life with a surprising faith. The level of his commitment and the dedication to his message shocked those around him.
* John drew large crowds
* John silenced the critics
* John confronted the sinful practices of the day
* John preached for repentance
* John baptized for spiritual purification
John called the people to repentance
John proclaimed the coming messiah
Matthew says that John came preaching in the wilderness. The Greek word here means to herald, to proclaim. The role of John as the forerunner to the Messiah caused him to do just that, proclaim the coming of the messiah. John acted as the royal messenger to the coming King.
John urgently proclaimed that the days of the Messiah were coming. John not only announced that Christ was coming and people needed to act quickly. What were the people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah? Repent!
John prepared the way for the messiah
There was an ancient custom performed by kings when they embarked on a journey. The king would send servants on the road ahead of them. The servants would clear the road of debris and level the road where needed. The work made the coming of the king much easier and more effective. This is the emphasis placed on the ministry of John the Baptist.
John was to get things ready for the coming of the Messiah. John was make the path clear for the ministry of Jesus. John began his ministry with the purpose of clearing the way for Jesus to perform His ministry.
The Message of Jesus and the work of the church
The final message of Christ to the church was not the Great Commission. The final message of Christ is two-fold.
2.) I am coming
Our task as the church is to proclaim that Jesus is coming again and help people be prepared. How should people prepare for the coming of Christ? Repent!
Repentance is to make a radical change. Turn away from sinfulness and move toward righteousness. Repentance is a 180-degree turn from being self-centered to becoming Christ centered. When a person repents, they give up their rebellion against God and turn to Christ. Christ calls the church to reach out to lost people caught in their sinfulness and selfishness. We are to help people see their need for Christ. Our purpose is to help people make the turn in their lives and point them toward Christ.
By: David Dewitt, contributing writer
Pastor DeWitt is minister in southwestern Ohio and has been in full time ministry for over 10 years.He earned a B.A. in Religion with a minor in communication from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.