Locust crunching desert dweller – John the Baptist
One man, out of all humanity, only one man was chosen for the role of introducing God’s Saviour to the world. There was no royal decree, no political party announcement, no synagogue introduction classes, and no social media campaign. We know him simply as John the Baptist, who was not selected because of his stylish presentation, not for his public appeal, nor for his popularity.
John was no fashion statement, as he was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6). But John understood perfectly that he was paving the way for …the Christ, who is God over all… (Romans 9:5). There is much to learn from John’s method of introduction, as it laid the foundation for the very message Christ would proclaim.
Mark 1:4-7 gives the details, John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins… 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. In Matthew 3:11, John adds, I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Although John the Baptist must have appeared as a wild creature crawling from the desert with no social acumen, he skilfully introduced God’s Messiah. He didn’t rent a synagogue or coliseum to launch his campaign. No, he simply began proclaiming in the wilderness. He began with a terrible location in the desert. He had no marketing, no signage, no social media, no visual aids, and no sound system. But key to John’s method was the following: he publicly called for repentance from sin, he pronounced the divine supremacy of Jesus, and he explained the unique ministry of the Christ to input a person with either the Holy Spirit or eternal judgement.
You see, John was God’s man on God’s mission, and God supplied the hearers who were ready to respond. Everything else was secondary. This rugged specimen of humanity had willingness! And God’s purpose was fulfilled through willing John. Today, we often get so caught up with trying to make our ministry prosperous, that we miss Christ’s message all together. Well, John lacked it all. He came simply with a life set apart for God, a willing desire to do whatever was asked of him, and the simple courage to speak up. A right attitude flowing from a sanctified life were John’s only qualifications.
John also had the privilege of baptizing Jesus, and, immediately Jesus went up from the water, behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17). God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all present and active on that occasion. Imagine John’s reaction when the Father voiced His approval of His only begotten Son.
Jesus declared that among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he (Luke 7:28). May we live sanctified lives, willing and ready to be used by God for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ as Lord, nothing more, and nothing less.