We will be looking into the life of John the Baptist. His life had been prophesied by Prophets Isaiah & Malachi. (Isaiah 14:3-5; Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). John confirmed Isaiah’s prophecy that he was only making the way for the one to come (John 1).
And Jesus later confirmed Malachi’s prophecy that John was the “Elijah” being awaited to precede the coming of Christ. John was not literally Elijah as we know but he did the kinds of things that Elijah did, which was turning people’s hearts back to God.
From Luke’s gospel, we see some details: John’s father Zechariah was a priest, and John’s mother was also from a family of priests.
Both his parents were good people, obedient to God’s law and faithful (loyal) to God.
But though very old, they had no child.
Zechariah was on priestly duty in the temple one day, hmmm.
An angel of the Lord appeared to him with a message that God had heard his prayer and his wife Elizabeth would have a son whom they should name John; and how happy and glad people would be for him. He gave special instructions of how to bring up the child. And that from his birth he would be filled with the spirit of God. And that the child would bring the people of Israel back to the Lord their God
And he would be strong and mighty like Prophet Elijah. (This refers back again to what Prophet Malachi had said about him). Malachi 4 vs.5-6.
He would get the Lord’s people ready for him. These same statements were said about him by Prophet Malachi when he said that someone would come like Elijah that would turn the hearts of the people to God…
This was confirmed by the angel’s words to Zechariah. True to the word, Elizabeth got pregnant. John was born
Started his ministry telling people to turn from their bad lives and be baptized, and that God would forgive them.
Interestingly, people started asking him if he was the messiah. And they questioned him about who he was.
He told them he’s not the messiah, but hat the messiah is coming after him. And that while he, John, baptized or dipped people in water, the one coming after him that is the messiah would baptize or dip people in the Holy Spirit.
We see him ready to push people towards Jesus. He showed his own disciples pointing to Jesus that he is the lamb of God. That is the one you should follow and look up to. And those disciples ran to meet Jesus. And when people told John about Jesus baptizing and having more followers than John himself, it didn’t move John.
The profound thing is that he made them realize that Jesus is the one worthy of the greater importance while he (John) had to become of lesser importance.
We must be focused on what we have been called to. Whatever we are doing, everything is focused on Jesus. John knew his purpose, that he was just a messenger. We are apprentices of the Lord. Our purposes derive from him and are centred on him.
All we are meant to do is to showcase Christ. He remains the centre.
However influential or famous we may become, we must remember that Jesus Christ remains the centre.
We need to always decrease and he should increase. That purpose which is to proclaim the goodness of Christ must continue. Another lesson from this: Should God bring into our space someone with some greater skill in a particular area, however much younger or otherwise we may consider that person to be, we must be humble to learn rather than getting competitive.
We must stick to our own purpose. There’s no question of someone trying to outshine another. Let us also remember that we need to remain humble in all of our duties. And everyone is unique in his or her purpose, all geared towards one ultimate goal.
Finally, at some point, shockingly, John developed doubt about Jesus when he John got into a difficult situation. Let us know that we must stay in the place of the word and fellowship with God to get through difficulty so we don’t fall.
There will be persecution, challenges while we are doing God’s business.
Jesus told his disciples, in this world you will have problems, but remain cheerful because I have defeated the world. It’s in fellowship with God that our doubts are cleared out and we remember the promises of God. Though the challenges may still be there, we will still have peace.
ACTIVATION | GETTING PRACTICAL WITH IT
1. In your quiet time tomorrow, let’s pray that our eyes will never shift from the focus of our lives and existence that is Jesus Christ Himself.
2. Spend more time reading God’s word: the more you do that, the more your mindset begins to change and stays centered on Christ and serving others.
3. Stay focused on your purpose: ask the Lord to continually help you so as not to get distracted.
I pray the Lord alone will be glorified in our lives.