What an intriguing character John the Baptizer presents as he strides out of the Judean wilderness to prepare the way for the Messiah.
Luke records for us the great names of the day Lk 3:1-2; Tiberius Caesar ,Pontius Pilate ,Herod,Philip ,Lysanius,Annas and Caiaphas.The movers and shakers of the day .The famous(infamous),the influential, the rich, the powerfull...and yet the word of God came to John in the wilderness.An unknown person from an insignificant location, with no wealth,no contacts ,no political or religious system to back him up,no television ministry, no published books,no building no multimedia,no sound system...well you get the idea .All(all?) he had was the word of the LORD burning in his heart.
And he preached;my how he preached ,white hot messages of repentance.He called sin ,sin;he boomed out the wrath to come ,he warned of God's holy standards to the rich, the poor and any in between .He confronted wickedness in high places and constantly,constantly pointed people to Christ.
The man John ,the quintessential prophet.The greatest prophet who ever lived according to Jesus.In fact no one born of woman is greater says the LORD.John; never did a miracle ,his ministry lasted a few short years at best, murdered by an earthly king;honored by the Heavenly King.
The great Baptizer with his strange appearance and stranger diet new nothing of "seeker friendly,church growth " principles as he glared at the crowds and bellowed "who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?".He was unyielding in his proclamation of truth, unafraid in his condemnation of sin and untiring in his lifting up of the Messiah.
His appearance from nowhere baffled the religious leaders"Who are you?What do you say of yourself"
"I'm just a voice" he answered,"a voice crying in the wilderness"
And they came ,the weak the strong ,sinners in need of hope .And they heard and they listened and they asked "what must we do?" and they repented and they were baptized.
John the prophet ,the man sent by God looked into the eyes of Jesus the Lamb of God and immediately declared ,"He must increase and I must decrease".John ,not concerned with protecting "his" ministry ,no desire to build a church or start a movement,just faithfully fulfilled his mission and left the field to Jesus.
So much we can learn from this man sent from God.
We are not all called to be prophets ;although I think there should be a "prophetic edge " to every Christian as they hold up the sword of the Spirit and proclaim,"Thus saith the LORD"
We are not all called to be prophets and as Ravenhill says ,"If you feel you are called to be a prophet ,you best take out life insurance."
We are not all called to be prophets;but we are all called to point people to The Lamb of God.
We are not all called to be prophets but we can all learn from this greatest of prophets to decrease while He increases.
John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah according to our Lord;and at the end of Elijahs life ,his successor Elisha picked up the mantle and struck the river and called out "where is the God of Elijah"
We could ask today"Where are the Elijahs of God " John the Baptizer was an Elijah in his day...but today ;
"Where are the Elijahs of God?"