The Greatest Prophet
October 27, 2020
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.” (Matthew 11:7-10).
Great crowds of people had gone out to hear him when he preached a baptism of repentance in preparation for the coming Kingdom of God. No doubt some people went out to see him because he seemed odd to them. His clothing was unorthodox. His doctrine was unorthodox. His response to the Pharisees was unorthodox.
Some of the people who were disciples of John the Baptizer became disciples of Jesus. John, the brother of James (sons of Zebedee) transferred his loyalty from John to Jesus (John 1:35-42).
After John’s disciples left to go back and to report to him in prison, Jesus took the occasion to explain John’s ministry to the people. It was John’s ministry to draw attention to Jesus, to prepare the people for Jesus. His was not a self-serving ministry. He did not come from out of nowhere to impress anyone with his fiery sermons, his uncompromising position on righteousness, or his prophetic allusions to the coming Kingdom of God.
Jesus called John the Baptizer the greatest of the prophets. Previous prophets spoke of the Messiah who was to appear. John prepared the people for the Messiah who had come. Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6).
John was the one God specifically sent to prepare the way for Jesus. As he honored the Lord by identifying Him as the promised Messiah who had come, so Jesus honored him as the promised prophet who had come.
We are called by the Lord to prepare the hearts and minds of people of this generation for the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ which could happen at any time. Our work is no less important in our day as was John’s in his day. The results will be the same - some will believe the Gospel and be saved, others will turn away.
“Father, keep me focused on the task at hand, which is to stay faithful to the preaching and teaching of the Gospel to the lost so they may be saved, and to the saved that they may be discipled in the faith and equipped to lead others to Jesus. To the praise and glory of Jesus Christ I ask, Amen.”