In my previous blog, titled: “Elijah the Tishbite”, I promised I would explain the two texts in Malachi chapter 3 and 4 as appertaining to John the Baptist the forerunner to Jesus Christ.

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. [2] Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, [3] And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? [4] Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: [5] the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. [6] And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. [7] And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? [8] But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. [9] But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. [10] For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. [11] Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”. (Matthew 11:1-11).  

John the Baptist, according to scripture was born to an elderly couple who had given up believing God for a child, however, the angel Gabriel, (heaven’s chief messenger) on a visit to earth one day said to John’s father: “fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. [14] And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. [15] For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. [16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:13-17). 

John and Jesus were cousins, with John 6 months older than Jesus.

John is filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb and would born into this world with the prophetic gift and calling upon his life.

Not much is known about John as a child or young man but at some time near 30 he emerged from the wilderness where he lived with: “thus saith the Lord”, the cry of a prophet.

His messages reverberate throughout Jerusalem and beyond: people are drawn to him in large numbers.

The ministry of John was declared by another prophet, Isaiah, nearly 700 years beforehand: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord , make straight in the desert a highway for our God”. (Isaiah 40:3).  

The greatness of John:- 

1) Heaven said he would be great- Luke 1:15: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb”. 

2) Jesus said he was great- Luke 7:28: “For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he”.

3) The people thought he was great – Mark 11:32:But if we shall say, of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed”.

4) He was so great the people thought he was Messiah. (Matthew 16). 

5) He was so great that although he was beheaded they thought he came back from the dead as Christ. (Matthew 16:14). 

Herod the King who executed John thought Jesus was John resurrected from the dead. Herod said unto his servants, “this is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him”. (Matthew 14:2). 

6) John the Baptist regarded Jesus very highly for greatness regards greatness.

The Queen of the South visiting Solomon was won over with his greatness. This is true to this day. When John met with Jesus at the river Jordan and Jesus asked John to baptize him he responded: “I am not worthy to loose his shoes”. 

7) John the Baptist was willing to abase himself and exalt Jesus: “he must increase and I decrease”.

8) John the Baptist had disciples of his own and by all account was a good leader such that the disciples of Jesus later asked Jesus to teach them how to pray as John did his disciples.

9) John exemplified humility in such a way that his followers were good examples of humility (Apollos, a disciple of John and a mighty man in the scriptures was willing to listen to Aquila and Priscilla a missionary couple concerning the greater message of Christ and also the 12 men at Ephesus who listened to and obeyed Paul and were baptised over again and received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 18 & 19 respectively). 

10) Yet John did no miracles according to the people. John 10:41. 

John’s greatness as measured by God was his unfailing obedience to the will of God. His years were fewer than Jesus but he finished his course.

11) John’s greatness is because he was very accurate in announcing the presence of the long awaited Messiah. It began with him describing himself as the fulfilment of the scripture in Isaiah as: “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”. A very bold claim.

A few over the years have made claim to be a fulfilment of Holy Scripture. John Alexander Dowie believed he was Elijah.

John turned the people’s attention towards Jesus. Then one day John made it very clear that Messiah was in their midst.

Others had falsely announced the arrival of Messiah before and were found to be false. Also, some had even claimed to be the Messiah and led many to their ruin as Gamaliel said in Acts 5: 34-37.

John was 100% accurate and as a result he was able to leave the scene bringing to an end the dispensation of the law and ushering the dispensation of grace and truth.

Our platform is the world and our congregation the people.

The Lord’s servant  

Lloyd Denny


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