The Greatest Prophet

Dear Brethren,

Who was John the Baptist and what was his commission?  Most people do not know much about him.  All they know is that he ate grasshoppers and honey and dressed in rough camel’s hair clothes.  Actually, the Bible has a great deal to say about this prophet.  There are so many things we should consider.   For example, who was it that sent John to baptize?  Baptism had not even been initiated before John the Baptist came.  With regard to John, the angel Gabriel told Zachariah:

“He shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 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 1:17)

Can you imagine that John the Baptist grew up knowing that this was his special commission from God – to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children in the spirit and power of Elijah?  For many, the life of John the Baptist remains an enigma.  Who is this messenger being spoken of in Malachi 3:1:

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  (Malachi 3:1)

It was Jesus who said that John the Baptist fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”  (Malachi 4:5-6)

Why would Jesus say that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet ever?

“I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  (Luke 7:28)

Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus says:

“Truly 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.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. If ye will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  (Matthew 11:11-15)

Jesus is saying, “This is the meaning of Malachi’s prophecy about Elijah!”

“The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  (Isaiah 40:3)

John the Baptist is the pivot point between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Sermon:  "The Greatest Prophet"