It is easier than we would like to think, to overlook the importance and contribution someone makes in their lifetime.  It doesn’t matter if they are family, friends, and acquaintances or even someone known only by their exploits or reputation.  This can be said of the person of John the Baptist.  He was a somewhat obscure character in God’s plan for man’s redemption, but a most important one, nonetheless.

John was known as the “voice crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!'” (Matt 3:3 NASB)  One of his responsibilities included preparing the children of Israel to receive their Christ, the Anointed one.  In announcing the coming of John, the angel Gabriel claimed “he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.  (Luke 1:16 NASB)  Another responsibility was to identify the Christ to Israel, after all they had no idea of who or what to expect.  Upon baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist said, “And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.  And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”  (John 1:33-34 NAS)

Without John, we would not have known Jesus, nor would we have been prepared to receive Him when He was made known to us.  By comparison, we, who have named the name of Christ as savior and been immersed for the forgiveness of sins, have all had a John the Baptist in our lives.  Someone who helped us to be prepared, someone who pointed out God’s only begotten Son, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.  For me his name was Jerry and for you it was another.  But the process doesn’t end there.  Let’s not overlook, but imitate, John’s example in preparing others to receive Jesus.  After all, it’s possible that you are God’s messenger to one who may not be reached by any other.

Copyright © 2005, Nolan P. Rutter

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