John the Baptist: Prophecy
We turn now from studying Paul to studying John the Baptist
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! ~Matthew 11:11a NASB
John’s father and mother, Zacharias and Elizabeth, were a devout and elderly couple, without other children. When Zacharias was serving as priest in the Temple, the angel Gabriel appeared. Included in what the angel said to Zacharias, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:15-17. John as a baby, while still in the womb, leaped for joy at the sound of Jesus’s mother, leading to The Magnificat.
John is later seen as an adult in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
So why couldn’t Jesus ‘just come’, that is, why did John have to proceed before Jesus?
John did not just prepare his own heart, but urged others also. This preparation of the heart was through repentance or changing not just of actions but in the way people saw things. John therefore urged a change in the world view, outwardly demonstrated by baptism. Though the religious leaders had trouble accepting John’s message, they could not deny its power source.
Jesus was not ordained by the religious authorities. Zecharius as priest heard the angelic message from God about his son. It is John who publicly announced Jesus’ ministry.
John’s baptism is a forerunner of calling all, including Gentiles, to full repentance and preparation to receive the Messiah.
Today’s Training: John’s call to full repentance was for all, even those who thought they were holy. Many of the religious leaders rejected the message but could not deny the power. How do respond to this message? Are you too cool to fully repent? How about sharing with others, as John proclaimed even before Jesus began His own ministry?