A prophet with a unique mission
John the Baptist is undoubtedly one of the most important prophets. He was the one chosen by God to directly introduce God's promised Messiah to the world!
John’s coming was prophesied long ago by Prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!” (Isaiah 40:3)
John the Baptist's story is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke (Injil). His birth was foretold when an angel appeared to Zachariah (John’s father) and told him that his wife (Elizabeth) would bear a son at old age, and that his name would be John.
The angel also clearly revealed John's missions,
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, To turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:15-17)
In other words, John was to be the very last prophet before the Messiah came, and he would prepare the way for the entrance of the long-awaited Messiah!
Calling for repentence: breaking away from sin and turning back to God
John began his teaching by preaching in the wilderness outside of Judea, and his message was a simple one: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2) Men must repent from their evil ways because the Messiah was coming very soon. John baptized people who repented by immersing them in the Jordan river and bringing them out of the water as a symbol of the washing of their sins.
John’s mission was to point people to the long-awaited Messiah. All who believed in the Messiah would be saved from their sin and be made right with God.
As John continued his ministry of calling sinners to turn to God, many priests and religious leaders did not believe he was a real prophet. They insisted John to explain why he was baptizing people and under what authority.
John said to them, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the lord.” (John 1:23) John went on to say, “ I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me. Even his sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:27)
The Lamb God has promised and prepared for us
The very next day, John saw Jesus walking towards him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.” (John 1:29)
In other words, John made it clear that the Messiah was already among them, and this Messiah is Jesus.What does 'the Lamb of God' mean? Under the Law given to Moses, God's people were to sacrifice animals in order to atone for their sins. Only innocent blood can atone for the sins of sinners. But God has also taught us that animals' blood could never fully atone for mankind's sins.
John is a true prophet who fulfilled God's call for his life as a witness to the Messiah. By declaring Jesus is the 'Lamb of God', John declares Jesus is the perfect sacrifice prepared by God, and that trusting in Him is the only way to eternal life. But his work is also the fulfillment of God's promise to prophets Abraham, David, Daniel and Isaiah: the promise that God Himself would prepare a perfect sacrifice for all our sins, so mankind can be right with God.
Listen to God and Pray...
1. According to John's message, what does God want from us?
2. What does saying Jesus is 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' mean?
3. Do you believe in John's message to the world? How is it related to you?
4. How do you respond to John's message?
5. Who can you share this story of John with?