The Forerunner the Baptist
John is the Forerunner, Who Bears the Greatest Testimony
St Luke has quoted after Isaiah the prophet the following prophesy about St. John the Baptist saying: "This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ (Luke 7:27 NKJV). Our Lord Jesus Christ called him the greatest among those born of women. John was the angel who has been honored because he was the prophet of the Highest as his father Zacharias said: "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways," (Luke 1:76 NKJV). God has chosen him for this task, surely, he has deservedthis honor. But, what are the characteristics of John the Baptist which distinguishedhim and qualified him for this honor?
John the Baptist is the Angel and the Messengerof God
The angels are ministeringspirits. They obey God's orders and they always do His will as it is written: "Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word." (Psalm 103:20 NKJV). Gabriel the angel came to announce St. Mary and also to announce Zacharias. The Bible reports many instances when angels were delegated to perform many services. St John the Baptist resemblesthe angels in the way he accomplished his service.
What had madeJohn the forerunner deservethis honor?
The following are some reasonswhy he was worthy ofthis honor.
- 1. John the Baptist hadannounced to the Jewish nation and all the population ofthe coming of the Son of God in the flesh. He preached the good tiding to the miserable world who was in need for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 2.The Baptist hadbeen delegated to prepare the way before the Christ by teaching the population by the knowledge of salvation as it is written: "To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins," (Luke 1:77 NKJV). This task was the greatest and most awesome service at all to be accomplishedby a human being because people weresaved by The Christ by John's ministry.
- 3. St John has accomplished the toughest and hardest work. He bears the good witness of the truth by rebuking boldly the hypocritical stubborn Pharisees and Sadducees, exhorting them to repent saying: “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones." (Matthew 3:7-9 NKJV).
- 4. In six months only, he has perfectly done the work and has also handed his disciples and the multitude of the populations who were delighted with him and loving him to the Lord Jesus Christ, praisinghim saying to the multitudes: "And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose." (Mark 1:7 NKJV).
- 5. He has bear the most obvious and straightforward testimony about his Lord God Jesus. He insistently has directed the population toward the Christ pointing on him saying:" The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29 NKJV )
- 6.Although he had possessed many virtues and he was a humble man, he did not allow people to be occupied by himself. He declared to all that he was not the Messiahand he magnified the Lord Jesus Christ saying about himself: "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled." (John 3:28-29 NKJV ).
- 7. He was ledby the Holy Spirit and says what God has instructed him and so his teaching and ministrywereso effective. He frequently emphasized that he is not preaching by his wisdomor his capability so he has declared that God has sent me or God said to me. As for example he said:" I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’" (John 1:33 NKJV).
- 8. John the Baptist did not relent even in front of the kings. He keptrebuking King Herod until he was prisoned and lastlyHerod has sent and headed him in the prison and provided his head on a platter to Herodiea, but he had won the great honor and glory in earth and heaven.
John the Baptist is the saint whomthe Lord Christ bore for him the most valuable testimony saying about him: " ...“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 clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet." (Matthew 11:7-9 NKJ). His blessing and intercession be with us all. Amen.