John the baptizer appeared on the stage of world history as a rugged individual who sparked history’s most significant spiritual awakening. To grasp the tremendous influence of John, consider that, even though his pulpit was in the wilderness, thousands came to hear his sermons. His ministry touched every segment of society: Politicians, paupers, prostitutes, kings, people from every part of society, heretics, and religious leaders all listened to him.
John knew that the sole purpose of his work and vocation was to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, whom he also called the lamb of God who takes away the people’s sins. After his years of training had been completed, John’s public work began, and it was immediately clear that God had prepared the people to hear his message, whom he urged to repent (Mark 1:5), and many did.
Amazingly, John had none of the credentials we often associate with great leaders. John had no formal education or money. He did not have friends in powerful places, nor did he try and impress anyone with his tact or dress sense. Yet despite, what the modern world would consider handicaps, Jesus declared that John was among the greatest men ever born (John 7:28).
John sacrificed everything for the sake of a pure life. John knew, if he was to call a nation to repentance and prepare the way for Jesus, he had to live in union with God. One of the church’s greatest needs today is the pure life of those who serve in positions of leadership. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Our words, thoughts, deeds, and our heart’s very intentions from where our behaviour stems, need to be pure. We, too, like John, point people to Christ Jesus and need to let Jesus’ life and light shine through us to bless others.