The Word This Week

Matt 14:1…

John the Baptist was an extraordinary individual, whose entire life was a fulfillment of scripture.

His ministry had been prophesied 700 years before his birth in Isaiah 40, and again 500 years before his birth in Malachi 4.  Additionally, his miraculous birth had been announced to his aged father Zacharias by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1.

His ministry life had been one of preparation for the coming of The Messiah, that upon His appearing, the hearts of the people would have already been prepared to be born again and enter the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus came to announce.

Upon his identification of Jesus as The Christ - the very Son of the Living God - John knew his ministry had been largely completed. He said, (of Jesus,) “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This had been accomplished in ways John would never have anticipated or desired.

In his contentious manner, John had spoken out publicly about the sinful marriage between Herod Antipas and his wife Herodias. (Herod had married his brother Philip’s wife, who was also his niece.)

In our day, many are afraid to speak Biblical truth to power, because they have bought into the notion that religion and politics don’t mix. The result is sin running rampant in our society just as it was in John’s day. When Herod entered a sinful relationship with his brother’s wife, John spoke out about his violation of Jewish Law. He was more concerned with societal sin than he was about his own comfort.

This embarrassed and angered Herodias and she encouraged king Herod to arrest John, which he did. John became a political prisoner. Arrested by the state for speaking out about what the Bible says about sin.

Just like that, John’s ministry was diminished. He became less, and Jesus became more, as John was removed from the scene – to such an extent when Herod became aware of Jesus’ ministry, he presumed Jesus was John raised from the dead.

Pastor Bill