The Commission of John the Baptist; November 30, 2022

Luke 1:76-77 “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.”

It just struck me that this commission of John could now be applied to every believer. When we consider that a prophet is simply someone who speaks the words of God, there is no part of this that falls outside of the Great Commission famously recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. John the Baptist was indeed an important figure in God’s plan of salvation, but as Jesus said, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:28) John was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, (Luke 1:15) but that same Holy Spirit is available to every believer today, and we have the knowledge of the cross and resurrection, which John did not have. There is no room for personal pride here, because we are all equally objects of God’s grace, but we must not take lightly the privilege and responsibility of giving people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. John’s preaching, after he became an adult, was at times blunt in the extreme, but many people indeed repented because of it and were prepared to receive Jesus as the Messiah. Even Jesus’ disciples John and Andrew were first disciples of John the Baptist.(John 1:35-39) “Preparing the way,” as it says in this verse, is laying the foundation for repentance and faith in a person’s heart. We can’t do it in our own wisdom and strength, but the Holy Spirit can use us to do it if we are willing and available. We can’t save anyone, but we can let them know that salvation is both necessary and available, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

I’ve obviously accepted this commission to tell others about salvation in Christ, and I’ve even written a small book on the subject, though it’s not yet published. However, I see my greater commission as helping others understand that they too have John’s commission. That is of particular importance as a Caucasian in Japan, because people are far more likely to receive the Gospel when they hear it through someone who looks like them. That’s not to say I haven’t led people to repentance and faith, but that number is small. Of potentially far greater importance is the number of people who have recognized their commission through my ministry. I sometimes say that they go into fulltime ministry because they think, “I can do a better job than he does!” However, even that “fulltime ministry” term is a misnomer, because every believer is to be a child of God all the time, and that means telling people about their Father. Of course, words without actions are meaningless, as James emphasized, but far too many Christians never tell anyone about Christ. That’s what the Holy Spirit is given to us to enable, (Acts 1:8) so if we want Him, we had better be willing to share!

Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of being Your agent. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Help me meet Your appointments and fulfill Your plans on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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