Bristol, Virginia

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Lessons from John the Baptist

Out of all the figures in the Bible I most closely relate to it is John the Baptist. He was a bit of an outcast. He was bold. Let’s take a look at some lessons we can learn from him. This will not be an intellectual pursuit but rather lessons from the heart so to speak.

In the book of John we first find him in chapter 1. John had been baptizing people in the wilderness. This aroused the interest of the Jews, who sent priests and Levites to investigate. They asked John a simple yet profound question: “Who are you?” (John 1:19b) John answered:

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord.” (v.23)

John was quoting Isaiah 40:3. He had found himself in the scriptures. John had lost all self-identity and declared that he was “a voice.” Right now God is raising a John the Baptist generation that throws off titles and the praise of man and picks up the voice and call of God. The days of superstar ministries is coming to an end. God is not interested in big ministries with massive programs and budgets. If you haven’t noticed they have done little to advance the kingdom of God.

Notice that John the Baptist was a voice “crying in the wilderness.” People going to John had to walk a good distance in the hot sun. I fear we have made things a bit too comfortable and easy for this generation. But notice the people went out to get baptized and to listen to a guy wearing camel hair and eating locusts. It was the power and anointing on his life. So, what we need is not more programs but the anointing of God. If we have a message from God He will bring the people. In fact, the people will not be able to be held back. Take note that Jesus was pressed from every end no matter where He went.

The very next day after John saw Jesus coming toward him. John said, and dare I say, cried out, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

The Greek word “behold” is a strong word and it means “to see with the eyes, take heed, behold.” It is found in the imperative voice meaning it is a strong word of admonishment. It is not a mere suggestion to look but rather a call to take in completely. In this we see John once again deflection attention away from himself and to the direction of Jesus. That is what God is calling this remnant generation to be.

Skipping over to chapter 3 in the book of John and starting in verse 22 we see John is still baptizing. The Jews, perhaps trying to provoke jealousy, said to John “Rabbi, He (Jesus) who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” (v.23b, comment added)

John replied:

A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (vv.27-30)

John greatly rejoiced to hear the “bridegroom’s voice.” Oh let that be us! Now, take notice of the last statement John made. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” In the Greek the word must is not there and the verse truly reads “He must increase, but I decrease.” John learned that the only real way for him to decrease was first for Jesus to increase. It happens automatically.

He must increase, but I decrease.”

image credit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *