John the Baptist. He wrote no epistles and none of his sermons were preserved for us to read. And yet Jesus said there was never a greater prophet than John the Baptist. But when they asked John who he was, he said of himself ” I am just a voice crying in the wilderness”.
John was sent from God. He had a purpose and that purpose was to bear witness that Jesus is the Light of the world. He was born to point to Jesus and say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. John knew that he was not worthy to untie Jesus’ shoes. He knew that he would decrease while Jesus increased. He knew that it might cost him his head but still he raised his voice to declare that Jesus was the Son of God. Even though he knew all this, he was happy to be nothing more than ” A voice crying in the wilderness”.
Sometimes I wonder if there are any modern day Christians who get this. It seems that pastors must spend all their time refereeing fights and soothing hurt feelings because of church members who wish to be the greatest in the church. I am convinced most local churches are severely hindered today because of so many people who think they are much too important to be nothing but “A voice crying in the wilderness.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all God’s people were consumed with a desire to point people to Jesus. We are born again for this purpose. Jesus must increase and we must decrease. We must be willing to lose our heads for the privilege of declaring that Jesus is The Son Of God. Behold the Kingdom of Heaven is near and we must be satisfied to be nothing but, ” A voice crying in the wilderness.”
Three years, that is how long the earthly ministry of Jesus lasted. From the time John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God” to the time when a Roman soldier said, “Surely this Man was the Son of God” was only three years. There was only thirty six months between the day He left the carpenter shop to the day when He ascended to heaven. He had one thousand and sixty five days to train twelve men to turn the world upside down.
He knew His time was limited so He did not waste it. He prayed a lot, slept when He needed to and was always about His Father’s business. Satan tried to distract Him, family members did not believe in Him and religious leaders were afraid of Him. But He would not be hindered. Only three years to bring salvation to the world. Nevertheless with His last breath, He could say, “It is finished” as He commended His Spirit into His Father’s hands.
As Jesus ascended into Heaven, He spoke a Great Commission to all who would trust and follow Him. He told us to “Go into the whole world making disciples of all nations and baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This is the business that God’s children are to be invested in.
Jesus knew exactly how much time He had and did not waste it. You and I however do not know how much time we have. The Bible teaches us, it is impossible to know what will happen tomorrow and that our life is like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Like Jesus we must realize that our time is limited and determine not to waste it.
The salvation of many souls may depend on your obedience to The Great Commission. We must follow the example of Jesus. Satan will try to distract you, put him behind you. Family members may not understand you. Religious leaders may feel threatened by you. Do not let this hinder you. Pray a lot, sleep when you need to, always be about the Father’s business and never stop until God says “It is finished.”
I confess, like most people, sometimes I miss important words in the Bible. For instance in Matthew 11:11 Jesus says “Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” As often as I have read that passage of scripture until recently I had not seen the word, “risen.” This is important because John was not born great. Jesus is telling us that John the Baptist rose to greatness.
Yes I know that the circumstances of John’s birth were miraculous. However, that was not what made him great. John became great when he rose up and unashamedly preached the need for repentance. Pointing to Jesus he joyfully proclaimed that He was the Lamb of God. Then John rose up and fearlessly pointed out the sins of King Herod. After this he relentlessly clung to the Kingdom of Heaven even as the axe separated his head from his body. No, he was not born great, but by his faith John ascended to greatness.
Strangely enough after Jesus honors the greatness of John, He then turns to you and I and says “He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John.” I believe that through these words Jesus is issuing a challenge to all of us. This is the challenge; Godly men must stand up for the Glory of God and by faith cling to the kingdom of heaven.
This time we live in is strange and terrifying. This world has a need for great men who will stand up for righteousness and the Kingdom of God. These men will not come from the entertainment or sports venues. Nor will they come from the pulpit or political world. The Holy Sprit is looking for ordinary men who will sink to their knees in prayer and stand on their feet to do battle with the enemy.
For the sake of our children and grandchildren, it is time for ordinary men to cling to the Kingdom of Heaven and by faith rise up to greatness.