Except for Jesus, John the Baptist was the best man ever born. He was better than Moses, King David, and Elijah. While he was still in the womb, he leapt with joy at the presence of God. That leaping has often been compared with David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant when it returned to Jerusalem.
He fearlessly called rulers and sinners to repentance like Elijah. The Jews awaited his return because he was to prepare the way for the Messiah. Gabriel prophesied that John would come in the power and spirit of Elijah.
Despite all of the greatness, he was a truly humble man like Moses. He was not jealous of Jesus at all. He proclaimed that he was not worthy of carrying Jesus’ sandals. He viewed his job as that of the best man to prepare for the bridegroom and then fade into the background. He rejoiced at his own diminishment.
If you want to understand the purpose of the Old Testament and the Law look to John the Baptist. It was there to convict the people of sin and bring them to repentance, to prepare the people for the bridegroom’s coming, and to point out Christ when He came. What it couldn’t be was the bridegroom. It couldn’t bring us into unity with God, only God could do that.
I could prepare a wonderful dinner for the Pope, but I can’t make him enter my house. Only the Pope could do that. The Old Testament was the best man preparing us for Jesus. Once the bride and groom are married there is not further need of the best man.
Jesus did not choose John to succeed him. The New Testament is based on mercy. Jesus choose Peter who once gave Jesus advice so bad, Jesus rebuked him as a Satan. Peter lost faith when he was walking on the waves and denied Jesus three times.
From a human standpoint we would feel more comfortable following a John than a Peter, but we are New Testament people! We are not clothed in our good deeds, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. It is not what we do for God, but what He is able to do through us. To God be the glory! If you are a weak, flawed individual, are we the church for you. For when we are weak that is when God is strong.
Jesus loved John the Baptist. Jesus said to call no man good, for only God in heaven is good, but He praised John in this manner.
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Man’s greatest righteousness is nothing compared to the righteousness of God that clothes even the least of believers. The Old Testament called us to righteousness. The New Testament empowers us to be so.
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