More Than A Prophet
Beautiful, glass cathedrals, heated and cooled to personal preference, state of the art media displays, sound speakers that can wake the dead, and preachers who change costumes to fit the taste of different target audiences—this is how many 21st century preachers attract crowds, but can we learn something about authenticity from the last Old Covenant prophet?
In the first century John the Baptist dressed like a desert ascetic and made his audiences hike for miles in rugged country. When they arrived, there was no building—only desert and a river. Jesus called him the greatest Old Testament prophet, but then went on to make an intriguing statement on John’s importance versus His most insignificant disciple.
“’And blessed is the one who does not stumble over me.’
After the messengers from John had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed being shaken by the wind? What was it you went out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Look, you know that men who dress elegantly and live in luxury live in royal palaces. So what was it you went out to see? A prophet, certainly, and I tell you, more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it stands written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face. He will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you that no one born of women is greater than John, but the most insignificant person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.’
Now all the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard John declared themselves on the side of right, God’s side. But the Pharisees and legal experts rejected God’s will for them when they did not get baptized by John.” Luke 7:23-30
It’s the hand of God, not dashing clothes or multi-million dollar sanctuaries. John the Baptist wore skins and lived in the desert, but the crowds came. They were not attracted by his wealth or status. They came to see a man who stood straight in the winds of change, controversy, and threats.
How could anyone be greater than this voice crying in the wilderness? The answer leads us straight to the Man—the Man who is far more than a prophet. The most insignificant individual who follows Jesus, the King of Kings, enjoys the experience of God’s Kingdom, a reality that Old Testament prophets longed to experience. John announced the Kingdom of Jesus, but in his earthly life he did not get to walk with Jesus and see His power firsthand. Now that the Holy Spirit has come we get to live daily experiencing the thrill of His presence and power.
LORD, encourage my pastor friends in Kenya today who preach in buildings made of homemade brick and aluminum—a long way from the multi-million dollar cathedrals of America. Anoint my brothers and bring many like the first century tax collectors who will admit their sin and allow Jesus to transform. Help me to revel today in the joy of being part of Your Kingdom.
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