Summary: John the Baptist is considered to be one of the most significant and productive spiritual leaders of the entire Bible. This is only because of the message JTB preached to the world.
ONE MIGHTIER THAN I - Part One
TEXT: Mark 1:1 – 8
I have been blessed to meet and speak to a wide variety of missionary-ministers who have sold everything and taken their families into ministry. They are truly committed to the calling of God in their lives. Some of these courageous folks are serving in the inner city ministries here in the U.S., while others are serving in the remote areas of Africa, Asia, etc. These men and women give me perspective to what it means to serve God in remote places. It is an honor to meet them and listen to them.
Our text begins with the humble servant of God JTB. Vs. 1 says it is the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It begins with John The Baptist. Today’s text is the continuation of the Prophecy spoken by Isaiah in Isaiah 40:3. John the Baptist (JTB) is the fulfillment of a prophecy that was hundreds of years old.
The Prophet Isaiah had never met John the Baptist, but Isaiah did describe John the Baptist for us. And now (in the New Testament) Mark is giving us a clearer and closer look at this amazing preacher and prophet of God – JTB.
We have to ask ourselves - Why would John the Baptist be prophesied about in the Old Testament, and then documented in the New Testament? After all, there is nothing glamorous about this man wearing camel hair, and eating locust and wild honey. Why do we find story of JTB in the OT and NT?
The fact is John the Baptist is considered to be one of the most significant and productive spiritual leaders of the entire Bible. This is only because of the message JTB preached to the world.
JTB had a very unusual message and ministry… Bible Scholars consider JTB to be a ROAD BUILDER while making the way for Jesus to come to us through “the wilderness”. It would be Jesus Christ Who would redeem the earth from sin and Satan.
This would not be an easy job, but a very important job.
JTB would face spiritual darkness and evil and he would be
THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: “PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD. MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!”
The point and place of ministry (for JTB) was not a convenient place for ministry. It was in the wilderness. The Greek word for “wilderness” is desert. Imagine with me - this is a place that is very hot and dry…a rocky terrain without any trees for shade.
It was not a comfortable place for people to listen to the preachings of a Prophet. Imagine - There are no seats or cushions, no air conditioning, no melodic music flowing out from a booming sound system, etc.
Ministry unto Jesus can be intense, and is always intentional.
Ministry in a wilderness can take a lot out of you (as it did for JTB). For JTB, there were not any rewards for his ministry unto Jesus. The rewards for ministry do not always come to the prophets and preachers in their lifetime. Those rewards may have to wait until we stand before Him and behold His eyes.
QUESTION: Do you have a spiritual life? Have you ever had a time when you have felt drained, thirsty, and sunbaked? A time when you have felt completely exhausted and you are not sure if you can go any further? A time when you are no longer able to fight the forces of evil in the “wilderness”?
The days we live in are not that different than the early days of Jesus’ ministry…the early days of JTB…. Here in our text is the life of JTB. JTB only had one voice crying out “in the wilderness”. It was miserably hot, but he would not give up.
As for you and me, we know there are times when we try to do the right thing for God, but Satan fights us every step of the way. Satan will do whatever he can to attack you and finish you off, but friend you must never give up in your wilderness.
The fact is there may be someone in your life that needs to hear what you have to say about Jesus. Your voice can resinate aloud, and be just as important as the voice of JTB was when he was CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: “PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD. MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!”
The historians of that period of time tell us there were many people who had given up on God. In a spiritual sense, the world was lost in darkness. There was no relief for God’s people.
Those who were once faithful and true to the Laws of Moses had all but given up. The historians tell us that no one had heard the voice of God for 400 years (before JTB). The Voice of God could not be heard by anyone…anywhere. The other Priests and Prophets of this period of time were silent. They had nothing to say to strengthen the Children of Israel. They were very discouraged.