There is no denying the importance of this biblical character, being the cousin of Jesus, John Baptist was the son of Zacarias and Isabel, the result of a miraculous conception, since his mother was old and sterile (Luke 1: 57-66). John Baptist knew from an early age what his purpose here on earth was: to announce the coming of Jesus Christ – the Savior – and he remained faithful to his call.
The prophet Isaiah had already prophesied about him. And this is confirmed in the text of Matthew:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”Matthew 3:1-2
The beginning of his ministry
When the Spirit of God directed him to the desert to begin his preaching ministry, he did not hesitate to obey (Luke 1:80; Mark 1: 2-6), he lived in the desert until he began his ministry, he did not drink alcohol, he used camel hair and ate grasshoppers and honey. His ministry consisted of walking around the Jordan River and preaching that people needed to repent of their sins in order to be forgiven.
John preached about the gospel of repentance, warning that God punishes sin and that no one could escape just because he was a Jew by birth, because it is necessary to repent and live in a way that pleases God (Luke 3: 7-9). His preaching attracted many people who were baptized by immersion as a sign of their cleansing, for they were now new creatures.
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.Luke 3:7-8
John baptized Jesus
With this, many people thought that he was the Messiah, but John always explained that someone greater than him would come and that he would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1: 7-8). Until one day Jesus came to be baptized, John did not want to baptize him because he knew that Jesus was superior to him, but Jesus insisted and was later baptized by immersion. At that moment, John Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove and heard a voice proclaiming that Jesus was the Son of God. From then on, John began to announce Jesus as the Messiah (John 1: 29-31).
Humility in the life of John Baptist
The meaning of humility has to do with knowing ourselves. Knowing who we really are in a balanced way. Paul speaks in the letter to the Romans, chapter 1 verse 3: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
João knew what was His identity in God. As much as some might think he was the Messiah, he knew exactly who he was. And that he was there to pave the way for the true Messiah. He puts himself in the position of someone who was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals.
He states in John 1:26-27 that: “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
The fact that John the Baptist acted humbly in no way detracted from the importance of his ministry. He was someone announced by the prophet Isaiah and who played a key role in preparing the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. John preached boldly and confrontationally in relation to religious thought, precisely because of his understanding of himself. He knew the importance of his ministry even though there was someone bigger to come. Humility is not about false modesty.
How did John the Baptist die?
John died beheaded, by order of King Herod Antipas, who did so to fulfill his wife’s request, with whom he had an illegitimate marriage (Matthew 14: 3-12; Mark 6: 14-29). He was the last prophet to precede Jesus Christ and his work prepared people’s hearts to receive the good news of the Messiah’s coming.
Learning from the life John Baptist
Like John, we must seek to know the mission that God has reserved for us and be faithful and obedient to its fulfillment. Another lesson is that we must preach the truth about sin and repentance with authority and fearlessness. Nor should we seek honor for ourselves, but do everything for the glory of God. Observing the life of John Baptist, we notice that God does not promise his followers an easy life, but a job, remembering that his treasure is in heaven.
God bless you!
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