Who Was John the Baptist? : Christian Courier
Elisha was to Elijah what Jesus was to John the Baptist. .. repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus (Acts , emphasis mine). He has the distinct advantage of being able to point him out to the crowds: “ Behold, the Lamb of God!” John's life begins in typical Bible-hero. John the Baptist (Hebrew: יוחנן המטביל Yokhanan HaMatbil, Ancient Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ .. There is no mention of a family relationship between John and Jesus in the other Gospels, and Raymond E. Brown The Fact That Jesus of Nazareth Was Not Accepted as Messiah Was Not Due to the People's Lack Of Faith In God.
He who reaps receives wages and gathers this fruit to eternal life; consequently the sowers and the reapers rejoice together. For herein is the saying true: Although Jesus never forbade his followers to use John's form of prayer, the apostles very early perceived that their Master did not fully approve of the practice of uttering set and formal prayers.
Nevertheless, believers constantly requested to be taught how to pray. The twelve longed to know what form of petition Jesus would approve.
And it was chiefly because of this need for some simple petition for the common people that Jesus at this time consented, in answer to Thomas's request, to teach them a suggestive form of prayer. He did not intend that you should use such a set and formal petition as the expression of your own souls in prayer.
John the Baptist had taught his followers several prayers; all great teachers had formulated prayers for their pupils. The religious teachers of the Jews had some twenty-five or thirty set prayers which they recited in the synagogues and even on the street corners. Jesus was particularly averse to praying in public. Up to this time the twelve had heard him pray only a few times. They observed him spending entire nights at prayer or worship, and they were very curious to know the manner or form of his petitions.
They were really hard pressed to know what to answer the multitudes when they asked to be taught how to pray as John had taught his disciples. With the one exception—the declaration that "God is spirit" —Jesus never referred to Deity in any manner other than in terms descriptive of his own personal relationship with the First Source and Center of Paradise.
Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is. He makes a point of the fact that the Jewish leaders receive a strong word of rebuke from John the Baptist. He does not receive them as those who are truly repentant, but as hypocrites. We have already seen that the religious scholars in Jerusalem seemed oblivious to the birth of Messiah in Bethlehem Matthew 2: Now, we are told that John the Baptist strongly rebuked the Jewish leaders who came merely out of curiosity or self-interest.
We are thus prepared to hear these strong words from our Lord: This meant that the King was soon to appear. John was careful to contrast his ministry with that of the Messiah. John was merely a voice, crying in the wilderness; the Messiah was much greater.
John did not even consider himself to be worthy to carry His sandals 3: The news that Messiah would soon appear was also a warning. It was necessary, therefore, for his people to reckon with their sin. It is my personal opinion that John the Baptist, like most of the prophets, did not clearly distinguish between the first and second coming of the Messiah. He did not seem to grasp the fact that the Messiah would come twice, the first time to die as a perfect sacrifice for sinners, and the second time to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom.
This should come as no surprise to us, for such was the dilemma of all the Old Testament prophets: The blind received their sight and the lame were made to walk; some were even raised from the dead Matthew The problem is that these miraculous healings were not acts of judgment, but rather of deliverance.
Jesus sent word to John that he should take note of the miracles He was performing, and then compare them with what the prophets indicated that Messiah would do at His coming. One such prophecy can be found in Luke 4: He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.
From that time Jesus began to preach this message: If men are to be saved, there must be something from which they are saved. Men are saved from the wrath of God, which He will justly pour out on sinners.
The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God John 3: John called upon men to repent and to be baptized. It means to have a change of mind, to turn around. It includes this, but it also involves more.
John the Baptist and Jesus
I believe that there is an element of sorrow or remorse. Repentance is also a change of heart and mind that results in a change of course, a change in lifestyle.
In Matthew, Jesus merely lays down the general requirement: Luke goes into much greater detail on this, giving specific examples for various walks of life, including tax collectors and soldiers Luke 3: As I read the various passages in the Gospels which describe the preaching of John the Baptist, I am inclined to conclude that John is not merely requiring that men repent of individual sins. I think John is calling upon his audience to repent by renouncing and forsaking any human systems other than faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.
The Jews trusted in their ancestry for salvation. They thought that because they were descendants of Abraham, they were assured of having 50 yard-line tickets in the kingdom of heaven. As Paul powerfully demonstrates in Romans 9, being a Christian is not synonymous with being a physical descendant of Abraham. Repentance, then, is not merely forsaking specific sins; it is forsaking any system which relies on human effort, rather than faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Men are not to repent so that the kingdom of heaven will come; rather, men are to repent because the kingdom of heaven is coming: The only baptism the Jews of that day knew about was proselyte baptism. In such baptisms, the believer would baptize himself and then if it was a male he would be circumcised. The self-baptized and circumcised Gentile thus embraced Judaism and placed himself under the Old Testament Law. You can imagine the humility that baptism required of a Jew. The inference was clear: And by embracing baptism he likewise placed himself on the same lower level as a Gentile.
John the Baptist - Wikipedia
No wonder the Pharisees did not want to be baptized! I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. First, remember who John the Baptist was. He was a prophet; in fact he was the last of the Old Testament prophets.
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- Who Was John the Baptist?
What else could the law do, other than to condemn, and to point forward to a future salvation that came through faith, not law-works? Second, look who John was talking to. He was talking to sinners — Jewish sinners who trusted in their physical relationship to Abraham, and Gentile sinners like tax collectors who collected more than they should, and soldiers who used their power to extort money from the powerless.
If sinners are to be saved, they must first realize that they are sinners, justly under the divine sentence of death. He promises divine judgment for all who disobey.
In chapter 28, his section on divine blessings is 15 verses in length; his section on judgment takes up the remainder of the chapter, 54 verses in length. Moses, by divine inspiration, emphasized judgment, because he knew what was going to happen after his death: Call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting so that I can commission him.
They will leave me and break my covenant that I have made with them. I know the intentions they have in mind today, even before I bring them to the land I have promised. John spoke very strong words of rebuke and admonition to the religious leaders, who had not come to repent, but rather to resist and reject his message.
Jesus, too, had some strong words to say to His opponents — the very same religious leaders. Just as John had particularly strong words for the religious elite, so did Jesus.
In the Gospels, the proclamation of the gospel commences with the preaching of John the Baptist. Having said this, we must call attention to the fact that the message which John the Baptist proclaimed was not the complete gospel. To begin with, John was still a part of the old dispensation: Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.
John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. Jesus and the apostles made it clear that there was more to the gospel than what John proclaimed, as good as that was: He called upon men to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah. His message is far from obsolete: He commanded us to preach to the people and to warn them that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead Acts At His first coming, Jesus came to take our sins upon Himself, to bear the punishment for our sin.
When He returns, Jesus will judge sinners and rid the world of sin.
Differences in John the Baptist's and Jesus' Teachings
Our task as Christians is to proclaim the good news that Jesus has come to forgive sinners, and to warn men that the day of judgment draws near for those who have rejected Christ. Repentance, like faith, is not a work that we accomplish; it is ultimately the gift of God.
Repentance is something that God produces in us. Nevertheless, we are called upon to repent and believe. Repent and believe the gospel! We, like John the Baptist, should seek to turn people from their sin to faith in Jesus Christ. This will prepare men for the return of our Lord, a return when the judgment John promised will come: Repentance is sadly omitted in much preaching today.
I was very pleased to hear Billy Graham call for men and women to repent and to believe in Jesus Christ in his recent mission in Dallas, Texas. Turning to Jesus Christ for salvation is simultaneously turning from our sin. Often, in an effort to make the gospel more palatable, the requirement for repentance is omitted or minimized. You do not need to forsake anything, but simply to add something. The truth is that you must empty your portfolio of anything other than Christ, in which you place your trustand let Christ alone fill it.
He had to forsake them to follow Christ. If we would preach the gospel, we must include the call to repentance, as well as to faith. These two elements are not contradictory, but rather are two sides of the same coin. While grace is opposed to law see Romans 4: The law prepares us for grace by showing us our sin, and the impossibility of pleasing God through good works.
Thus, the law requires us to look to God for salvation by grace, and not to ourselves: For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Frederick Bruner puts it this way: John belongs to the substance of the story of Jesus and is not a mere introduction to it. John comes on like that last great prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures and like a walking, breathing law of God, full of doom and holiness and ultimacy.