What Made These Two Prophets Distinctive?
These two men were distinctive in their looks, living arrangements, food, and method of preaching. Their clothes were not fashion statements, and the smell was probably not attractive to those around them. John baptized people while wearing camel hair, which had to be smelly and more so when it got wet.
Honey and bugs don’t sound like an appetizing meal and a beard would have been a great catch-all for stray locust legs. Neither man had curb appeal, but John’s words were what attracted sinners to the river to be baptized.
Elijah’s miracles drew people to the Lord. He showed Israel who God really was. They had been so indoctrinated into idol worship, they had forgotten about Jehovah and His power. When the sacrifice on the altar was consumed and the prophets of Baal destroyed, the nation bowed and declared, “The Lord is God.”
Elijah’s anointing fell upon Elisha at the Jordan River when Elijah was taken into a whirlwind. John’s successor was the Son of God, who was anointed by the Holy Spirit also at the Jordan River.
Elijah and John were not great because of their appearance, but because of their daring messages.
The powerful preaching of Elijah and John turned people to repent. Yet they were both living under the old covenant. The Holy Spirit empowered them when a miracle or a word was needed, but they were not indwelt by the Spirit because Jesus had not died and risen from the dead yet.
We don’t have to wear camel hair and eat insects to learn from them. Nor do we have to be loud preachers. Jesus’s words tell us that we, as believers filled with the Spirit of God, are greater than John.
“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11)
Elijah and John stood against injustice, false religion, and the evil that permeated their societies. With God’s Word as our guide and the Holy Spirit empowering us, we can do the same thing to influence our sphere of the world with righteousness like these two amazing prophets did.
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