The Greatest Prophet

Born miraculously out of godly aged parents, John the Baptist is fully dedicated to his calling. Jesus marks him out as the greatest man that ever lived. Yet barring Christ himself, there would be many greater than him? What is greatness in Christ’s eyes?

Overview

Objective

Birth of John

Promise of God

Ministry

  Message

  Baptism

  Forerunner

  Cost

Discussion

Passages

Matt 3:1-12; 14:1-12; Mark 1.1-8; 6:14-29;  Lk 1:1-26; Lk:1:39-3:20; Luke 9:7-9; John 1:15-28

Cross References: Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-24; Luke 3:19, 20

THEME VERSE: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”

“a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’”

Mark 1:2-3

Objectives

To understand:

  • The requirements of godly parents
  • The benchmark message we need to communicate
  • The benchmark lifestyle of a disciple
  • The cost and rewards of discipleship

God's choice of parents

Both of them were upright  in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments  and regulations blamelessly. Luke 1:6

Angelic Announcement

Luke 1:11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.

Angelic Announcement

Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

Father's unbelief

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an  old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the  angel answering said unto him, I am  Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20 And, behold, thou shalt be  dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou  believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Anointed in the Womb

Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

John, the prophet:

  • Was great in God’s eyes
  • Had no alcoholic drinks
  • Was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth
  • Turned many to the Lord
  • Turned fathers to children
  • Turned rebellious to accept wisdom.
  • Had spirit and power of Elijah.
  • Prepared the way for the Lord.

Luke 1:14-17

John's Ministry - Message

John with his unique persona unlike the leaders of that time:

  • Preaches repentance.
  • Confronts King Herod
  • Exposes hypocrisy of the pharisees and sadducees.
  • Warns about judgement.
  • Teaches sharing, excellence, fairness, contentment, etc.

John's Ministry - Message

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his  wheat into barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matt 3:12

How different are most of the “so called” prophets of today from John? What can we learn?

John's Ministry - Baptism

  • Traditionally used to convert Gentiles into Jews.
  • Done in the Jordon river (where God renewed his covenant before Israelites entered the Promised Land. -Joshua 3:14-17)
  • Jesus was also baptized before he starts his ministry.

Luke 1:14-17

John's Ministry - The Forerunner

Points to:

  • The Messiah
  • Inwards to their own slavery to sin.
  • Reconciliation with God

Points away from himself

Matt 3:11

John's Ministry - The Forerunner

  • He must become greater, I must become less.
    John 3:30
  • Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29

 

John's ministry - The cost

  • Herodias plans to kill John
  • So also the religious leaders
  • Eventually, John is beheaded by King Herod

Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-24; Luke 3:19, 20

Our ministry - The cost

  • God does not guarantee an easy or safe life to those who serve him.
  • Standing for the truth is more important than life itself.
  • Christians today face a world of moral compromise.
  • Show the compromised church and world a little of John’s stubborness, fortitude and faith.

Discussion

Can people discover what you believe by observing the way you live?

How productive are you for God?

How can you prepare the way for a person to approach Christ?

Can we like John, put our egos and profitable work aside in order to point others to Jesus?

What have you done with the truth you read in God’s word?

“The greatness of one’s faith is determined by what it’s strong enough to accomplish”

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