4 Truths that Make John the Baptist the Greatest Prophet

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John the Baptist was an essential character in the Bible. But as important as he was, most Christians don’t know who John the Baptist was. The Lord Jesus Christ even considered him the greatest prophet.

But as great a prophet as John the Baptist was, he was still human. He was imprisoned because of preaching against the king. The discouragement was so great that he doubted the Lord Jesus Christ was the Messiah.

2Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Matthew 11:2-3

He experienced discouragement even though he was a great man of God. We often think that pastors don’t need encouragement. But they also need encouragement, just like any regular church member. So make sure that you always take the opportunity to encourage others.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

John 1:6-9

John the Baptist was to bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s his responsibility to testify that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah. The savior that the people were waiting for. And because of his preaching, many believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:3

It was also his responsibility to prepare the way of the Lord. The allusion is a forerunner going to a city before a king arrives to prepare the way. And to prepare the people for the arrival of the king.

John the Baptist certainly did his job to prepare the way of the Lord. And to testify that Jesus is the savior of all men. But since he was in prison and discouraged. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is now bearing witness to John.

John the Baptist was a steadfast prophet.

And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Matthew 11:7

John the Baptist was unlike other prophets. He was not prone to distractions. Jesus likened him to a reed that remains in its place even if the winds grow stronger. The Lord perceived him as a steadfast prophet.

He was steadfast in his purpose.

As the Bible mentions in John 1:7-8, his purpose was to testify that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah. John the Baptist never pointed the spotlight on himself. He always focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I believe that this should be the attitude of a preacher. Some preachers preach themselves instead of the Lord Jesus. Every preacher must preach the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1.) Therefore, the focus must be on Christ since He is the focus of the Bible.

This principle also applies to all Christians in general. The Lord Jesus Christ did not save us so that we would live for ourselves. He saved us so that we would live our life for Him. We must spend our talents, treasure, and time for Him. If we focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, He must be our priority. When people see us living our life for Christ, we are putting the spotlight on Him.

He was steadfast in his preaching.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 3:7

John the Baptist was not afraid to preach against the false teachers of his time. He knew his job was to preach the truth, not compromise with the false teachers. He preached against them by reproving them for their sins.

Not only did he preach against the false teachers. He also preached against the wicked king of their time. Although Herod the Tetrarch was a puppet for Rome, he still had power over the people. But John still preached against him even though Herod was powerful and authoritative.

John reproved him for his adultery and the evil things that he had done. Because of this, Herod threw John into prison. In the Bible, those who preach the truth are imprisoned in many instances. Just like Jeremiah, Daniel, and also the Apostles. However, this proves what the Bible teaches about the persecution of godly people (2 Timothy 3:12.)

John did not let the audience dictate his preaching. It was the Word of God that dictated his preaching. Regardless of the audience’s financial and social standing, they heard the truth from God’s Word when John preached.

John the Baptist was a sanctified prophet.

But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.

Matthew 11:8

John’s clothing was different from the typical clothing during those times. I’m not saying that his clothing made him more holy than others. Because clothing was never the basis of holiness, Christians should modestly dress as commanded by the Bible. But we should not be quick to judge people based on their clothing, specifically new believers.

His clothing separated him from ordinary people. I’m not suggesting that we should dress like John the Baptist. But we should focus on holiness instead of clothing.

15For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke 1:15-17

God already separated John for His purpose, even from the womb. He was one of the three Nazarites in the Bible. The other two were Samuel and Samson. Nazarites must live a different lifestyle from ordinary people. This is because God is preparing them for a specific purpose.

God set John apart for a specific purpose. And the good thing is that John accomplished that purpose. Being a Nazarite didn’t mean he would automatically fulfill God’s purpose. Samson certainly did not fulfill God’s purpose.

John the Baptist was a servant prophet.

9But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Matthew 11:9-10

John was more than a prophet since God gave him the job of preparing the way of the Lord. And as a servant of God, he did not lift himself to be famous. He lifted no one else but the Lord Jesus Christ.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:28-30

He knew that his life was not about him. It was about the Lord Jesus Christ. His focus was on serving God and doing his job. Rather than fame and preeminence, which most preachers focus on nowadays.

The truth is that some Christians say they are servants of Christ. But they are more focused on fame and recognition. They are serving themselves, not the savior. They are just like Diotrephes, who loves the preeminence inside the church rather than serving Christ (3 John 1:9-10.)

Service is never about self, it has always been about others.

Edifying the saints

John the Baptist was a special prophet.

Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:11

There are many great prophets in the Bible. But the Lord Jesus Christ states that none are more remarkable than John the Baptist. This statement from Christ tells us a lot about John.

Moses served God for 80 years. He performed miracles while they were crossing the Red Sea and the wilderness. He was the one who led God’s people into the Promised Land. And he was also the one who received the Law of God. However, John was greater than him.

It’s never about the length of service, it’s about the depth.

Edifying the saints

John the Baptist never performed any miracles. He just preached salvation by grace through faith in Christ because preaching the gospel to the lost is the best thing we can do as believers.

41And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. 42And many believed on him there.

John 10:41-42

In the end, John was beheaded in prison by order of Herod. But he was able to fulfill his purpose in life. In every aspect, whether it be his purpose, preaching, or practice, his life always pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We can summarize his life in one short statement which he said.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John the baptist

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