Jesus had a forerunner - 10 December 2019

Neville Turley

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me...  Malachi 3:1(NIV)

It is easy to understand why people may think that our lives depend on the fickle fortune of fate. The life story of John the Baptist proves otherwise.

We are not born by accident; God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. The angel, Gabriel, revealed to John’s father, Zachariah, God’s plan for John’s life.

John was to be a forerunner for Jesus. He would be the last of the long line of prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah and the need for God’s people to be ready to receive him. Zachariah, priest at the temple, prophesied at the circumcision of John:  “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God… (Luke 1: 76-78)

John fulfilled God’s plan and calling to the letter. As the only son of a respected priest, he could have led an easy, comfortable lifestyle. Instead he chose to dedicate himself fully and selflessly to God’s service. Leading a disciplined lifestyle, he became a signpost in the wilderness pointing people to God and the necessity for them to seek forgiveness and be cleansed from their sins.  Those who did so, he baptised.

John’s recognition and acceptance of Jesus as the promised Messiah – God’s chosen one (John 1:34) was the culmination of his ministry. There was no longer need for a forerunner, the Messiah had come. “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth…” (John 1:45)

It is my fervent hope that whoever reads this verse has done so too. For that is the first step in discovering God’s plan and purpose for one’s own life.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the life and witness of John the Baptist.  Grant us grace to be signposts too and through our lifestyle point others to Jesus.  We ask this in Jesus name. Amen