Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Forerunner

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 NKJV).

Israel had not heard from God for a long time. Four hundred years had passed from the time of the last Old Testament book, Malachi, to the emergence of John. Think about that. Israel, which was so accustomed to prophets and miracles and angels, hadn’t heard from God for 400 years.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, but right on time according to God’s schedule, a colorful character emerged: John the Baptist.

John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He was a radical, a revolutionary. And everyone wanted to see and hear John. The Bible says, “All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River” (Mark 1:5 NLT).

Not only was John a prominent figure, but he was super prominent. In fact, the ancient Jewish historian Josephus actually wrote more about the life and ministry of John the Baptist than he wrote about Jesus Christ.

Yet John had a simple job to do, which was to prepare the way for the Lord.

John was the last—and the greatest—of the Old Testament prophets. Jesus said, “I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28 NLT). So why was John the greatest? John alone was the direct herald and forerunner of Jesus. His greatness was the direct result of his nearness to Christ.

Despite this great calling on his life and his widespread popularity, John was a very humble guy. You might say that John’s motto was, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 NKJV). He understood exactly what his role was. His mission was to get out of the way and prepare people for Jesus.

And that’s our mission as well.

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