Summary: Showing how God used John the Baptist to usher in the Messiah, and how John's ministry is an example to us as Christian's today.
Gospel of John Series
CCCAG February 4th, 2018
Introduce one of the most unique men in the New Testament. We see much of his life and ministry in the Gospel of John, but we will also use several other scriptures to highlight this man’s life
Scripture- John 1:6-9, 19-28 (Various)
Begin with Prayer
In 1994 I had one of the most interesting jobs in the world- I did the onsite medical for a renaissance fair. If you have never been to one or heard of one, it’s an event where people dress and act as they did in the middle ages. All the food is of the time era, the talk is all Shakespearean in nature, and there is even a king and queen that rule over that area.
One of the best parts about a Renaissance Faire is the duels. Knights in armor will come out and duel each other in sword matches, archery matches, and the most exciting of all- the mounted joust where two knights riding horses will ride at each other with lances and try to knock each other off the horses.
There is an introduction to each match where a herald will come out to introduce his knights. The herald will list his knight’s lineage-recounting his famous ancestors, his experience in war and tournaments, and the mighty deeds he has done. All of this is an attempt to get the crowd excited and looking forward to seeing this mighty hero come and defeat the dastardly villain on the other side of the field.
In biblical times, they had something very similar in the local Colosseums. Whenever a gladiator would come out, his herald would come first to introduce him to the crowd, getting them riled up into a frenzy to see their hero getting ready to go into battle.
So, most famous hero ever to live was our Lord Jesus, and It is fitting that the He also had a herald.
Today we are going to be focusing on the life and ministry of John the Baptizer. There are several things about his life and ministry that shine through the ages and show us how we should live for God.
The first thing we want to look at are the circumstances regarding his birth and early life
I. Birth of John
A. John’s birth was foretold in the last book of the Old Testament.
Put yourself in the place of the people in Israel during the time of Roman rule. It’s been over 400 years since there has been any hint of God showing favor, or giving a word through a prophet. The last prophet on record, Malachi, gives an exciting promise- that the greatest OT prophet of all will return to usher in the Messiah.
This is what Malachi says-
Mal 4:5-6 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
So we see the nature and mission that John will have. He is compared to Elijah, and Elijah’s whole ministry dealt with restoring the proper worship of God to the nation.
John’s life, his ministry, and his mission were all set before he was even conceived, and that brings us to another point about John’s birth-
2nd thing about John’s birth is It was Miraculous
John’s parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were getting up there in age, most likely they had already joined AARP. They were a couple that had never been able to have children, and Elizabeth was well beyond childbearing years.
Zechariah was a priest, doing what priests do- tending to the temple, making sure the candles were taken care of in the holy place. He was alone when the Angel Gabriel paid him a visit.
Gabriel is the announcing angel. He is the one that carries the very words of God to deliver to humanity so when he shows up, you listen and believe. Gabriel tells John you are going to have a son, and he is to fulfill the Nazarite vow in being set apart for God’s work.
Nazarite vow was- no wine, no haircuts, no woman, no touching anything that could make them unclean.
Zechariah is amazed, and like many of his ancestors doubted what the angel told him. Because of his doubt, Gabriel declares that he will be unable to speak until after the birth of his son.
We always look at that as a negative- Zechariah messed up and received a punishment from God, but look at it from his wife’s perspective-
Think about that- what a blessing for Elizabeth! Finally, pregnant, probably in her 60’s or 70’s with the cultural shame of barrenness wiped away from her, and a husband who couldn’t talk. Pregnant with peace and quiet!