The angel of the Lord who came to Zacharias is the same angel of the Lord who would come to Mary a few months later to tell her that the Christ-child was going to be born. This angel of the Lord told Zacharias that his prayers had been answered and he was going to have a child. This child was going to be used by God to draw many unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias, was expecting a child. Her child was to be named John. Her cousin Mary told Elisabeth what had happened in her life and how the angel had come to her and told her that a Child would be conceived of the Holy Ghost of God and that He is the Son of God. She had been chosen to be the human instrument to bring the Christ-child into the world. She told Elisabeth about all that had happened. Before he was even born, John got excited when he heard about the coming Saviour. He would spend his entire life and ministry pointing people to the Son of God. John 1:6 says, There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. There are many things to learn from John the Baptist.
John had a given purpose.
He was to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ. When God created this world and created man in His own image, He knew in His foreknowledge that man would sin and turn his back on his Creator. God already had the solution to the problem. He knew that He would send His only begotten Son to pay for the sins of the world. The prophets of the Old Testament prophesied that the Saviour was coming. Isaiah foretold of that spotless Lamb that would be led to the slaughter. Other prophets prophesied that the Saviour was going to come. John was sent from God with a given purpose to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ. The word forerunner can be defined as “a message sent before to give notice of the approach of another.” The Great Commission gives each of us that same purpose. In Mark 1:2-3, John proclaimed who he was and what he was supposed to do. John carried out his accepted purpose. Many Christians reject the accepted purpose that God has for their lives. The same God Who created John and put him at that particular place in history with a specific purpose is the same God Who granted us life and has a specific purpose for our lives. Just as John was sent from God, we are sent from God.
John was a fulfilled prophecy.
The book of Isaiah mentions that there would be one who would come as a voice crying in the wilderness. In Luke 3:4, we see that John was the fulfillment of that prophecy. Knowing John was a fulfilled prophecy is a reminder of the plan and the providence of God. God whispered into the ear of the prophet Isaiah and said, “Let them know that a Saviour is coming. Let them know that there is one who will be the voice of one crying in the wilderness because it is going to be fulfilled with the life of John.” What an encouragement for us. God has planned every person’s life. We should be seeking the wisdom of God every day. The fulfillment of prophecy in the life of John, this man sent from God, is a reminder of the plan and the providence of God. God is above all things.
John had an obvious priority.
John 1:29 says, The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John’s obvious priority was to point people to Jesus. We are told in the first chapter of Luke that he would have a specific purpose and that was to be the forerunner to go ahead and proclaim, “He is coming! He is coming!” When he saw Him he said, “There He is!” The Bible tells us that John said, …Behold the Lamb of God,… This proclamation was his obvious priority. John was not concerned about his earthly gain or status. We must not get entangled with the affairs of this world. We are here to point people to Jesus. This is why it is so important for a Christian to act like a Christian, look like a Christian, talk like a Christian, go where Christians should go, and not go where Christians should not go. We do not separate from this world because we are better than anyone else. We separate so we can point people to Him and say, “Look at what Christ has done in me.”
John had an endless pursuit.
He never quit pointing people to Christ. It was his endless pursuit throughout his life and his imprisonment until his death, John preached the truth all the way to the end. His life ought to convict all of us. He never stopped doing what God wanted him to do. There are enough Christians on this planet who know the truth of God’s Word. They once served God. If the people in this country who used to and know they should, would get back to doing those things, we would not need a political revolution. We would have a spiritual revival. It was John’s life’s goal and mission to pursue what it was God had put him on earth to do.
John, a man sent from God, had a specific purpose. The same God Who gave John life and purpose gave us life and purpose. Our purpose is not to be the forerunner of Christ, but we have a purpose that God created us to fulfill. We need to get ahold of that fact and say, “Lord, whatever You have for me, I will do it.” Like John, we should have an endless pursuit of our given purpose. Like John, we should make pointing people to Christ an obvious priority. Like John, we must stay faithful all the way to the end. That is how we honor God with our lives.
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.