John the Baptist

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by chuckd, Oct 28, 2019.

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  1. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    John the Baptist seems like an interesting character with respect to the incarnation and ministry of Jesus.

    He is a messenger to prepare the way of Christ. What is the significance of this? Why does Christ require someone to prepare a way for him? Is this something like a modern day herald?

    He leaps in the womb at the presence of Christ. Was he cognizant of this in the womb?

    Why did he preach in the wilderness and not in the cities? Was he considered a prophet by those who followed him?

    Clothes - camel’s hair, food - locusts and wild honey. I take away from this that he was somewhat weird?
  2. RJ Spencer

    RJ Spencer Puritan Board Freshman

    It is an OT prophecy regarding the Messiah that Elijah would return before he came. John the Baptist was not literally Elijah, but spiritually.
    He did not actually need someone to go before Him, but the Bible is clear that everything must be established with two or more witnesses.
    Yes, John the Baptist had faith from the womb. This is a possible reason to support infant baptism and proof that Faith comes from God.
    Jesus certainly considered him a prophet.

    Not sure if you were actually looking for dialogue...
  3. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Of course I'm looking for dialogue. So you think his role was more of a witness and not a harbinger?

    Living in the wilderness, camel’s hair, locusts and wild honey makes him out to be a very odd person. But is this all to establish him as Elijah returned?

    1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree.

    2 Kings 1:8 They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

    I can't find reference to Elijah eating locusts and wild honey.
  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    John's strange behavior attests to him being a prophet. Not only does he cause people to think of Elijah (he isn't exactly like Elijah, but he has some of the same distinctives), he also shows that he is sold out to God's work and message. He is not a man of the culture, living and speaking in expected ways, but a man of God who lives and speaks as led by God. A lot of prophets did strange things because God was leading them. John's leap in the womb is not so much a prooftext about infant faith as it is a sign that he is led by the Spirit, just as his wilderness diet and clothing shows us that he is following God's leading.

    The fact that John's ministry took place in the wilderness signals that he is the preparatory voice foretold in Isaiah 40, but it also fits the nature of his ministry: he is calling people out of sin and complacency, unto repentance, just as they have to travel out of the cities to hear him.

    It was right that a great prophet should proceed the coming of the Christ, for two main reasons I can think of:

    1. The coming of the Christ ought to require preparation and readiness on the part of his people. For example, think of the parables of Matthew 25 that stress readiness for the second coming. Or consider the ministry of Malachi that asked, "Who can abide the day of his coming?" Repentance and a seriousness about God's judgment should mark his people as they prepare for the Christ to come, and God graciously sends a prophet to call them to this readiness. John's ministry was largely about the call to repentance and about the axe and fire of judgment that was near.

    2. The ministry of the Christ should be attested to by God. God did this for Jesus' ministry through miracles and the occasional direct announcement from heaven, but also importantly through prophets—both ancient and immediate. So, attesting to the Christ was another a big part of John's ministry: "Behold the Lamb of God..." and "One more powerful than I is coming..."
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