QUESTION: Something I’ve been wondering about, John the Baptist…what made people listen to him rather than dismiss him as a crazy man? He was so respected that he was able to pave the way that pointed to Jesus!
RESPONSE: According to Jesus he was the greatest of all prophets while the Old Covenant prevailed (Lk 7:28a). He came in the Spirit and power of Elijah (Lk 1:17). Jesus even said he was Elijah returned as scripture foretold (Mal. 4:5-6 and Mt 17:12). So think of the ministry and miracles of Elijah and realize John’s ministry was greater. Hence what he said came to pass. What he declared – happened. Indeed, when he baptized Jesus the heavens opened, the Spirit descended on Christ in the form of a dove and the voice of God was heard (probably like thunder) saying “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him (Mt 3:16-17).”
And realize this; if, according to Ben Franklin, George Whitefield could easily preach to a crowd of 10,000 in the mid 1700’s, how many more by one anointed from his birth (Lk 1:16).
Obviously his lone voice stirred an entire nation; so much so that the royals even felt threatened (Mt 14:4). Despite his immense popularity he had to be silenced. All of what he said and did was not recorded, but it is sufficient to say that Jesus said he was the greatest prophet. And yet what is even more surprising,…the fact that Jesus said of us who enter the kingdom (of grace by faith) that we receive a greater portion than John (Lk 7:28b). Now that is truly amazing! PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME. Thank you JESUS.