Any Hebrew knowing his Old Testament could have expected the ministry of John as a primary measure in the divine plan, paving the way for the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah spoke of “the voice of one that cries out”, indeed, of him who would “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord” and “make straight in the desert a highway for our God” Isaiah 40:3. This was seven centuries before the birth of Jesus. There will be many commentators who will refer to this as a prediction to an immediate reference to Judah’s return from the Babylonian captivity. On the other hand, the New Testament writers see it as a fulfillment in the primary work of John the Baptist. Read: Matthew 3:3; Mark 1; 2-3; Luke 3: 4-6; John 1: 23.
Let’s look at Malachi’s Prophecy of John the Baptist. Look at the difference between the “messenger” who prepares the way, and the “Messenger of the Covenant,” for whom the way is prepared. Also Malachi’s prophecy about the “messenger” parallel with that of Isaiah, which focused in the ministry of John. Then in Malachi 4: 4-5 we see the “messenger” as “Elijah the prophet.” In the New Testament Luke 1: 16 we have the angel Gabriel testimony, and in Matthew 11: 12-15 Christ said that this “Elijah” was none other than John.
John the Baptist Appearance
“There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John” John 1:6.
The description on how John is dressed is brief but memorable. He was dresses in camel’s hair cloths with a leather belt and his diet was locusts and wild honey Matthew 3:4. The camel hair mantel or cloak could have been camel skin or camel hair woven into a rough fabric. We find in the Old Testament that Elijah also dressed similar to this Zechariah 13:4 and 2 Kings 1:8. John’s diet of locust and wild honey was not a wealthy mans diet. I’m sure that the wild honey made the locust go down a lot easier. Another interesting point is that today people are consuming more raw or wild honey because it has been proven to help the digestive system.
Many would say that John was a recluse. “John came neither eating or drinking, and they say, he has a demon” Matthew 11:18. Recluses like John normally did not do a lot of socializing. John appearance and life style was seen demonic by some, like those who were possessed of evil spirits who made their home or roamed those desolate areas Mark 5:2-5.
John did not go out looking for all these people, they came to him. Hundred – thousands of people were baptized by him. Johns success was in the message he proclaimed. Matthew 3:5; John 1:28 ; John 3: 23. John didn’t perform any sign or miracles like Jesus and the apostles did. John 10:41; Matthew 10:1. The power of John’s preaching and the emptiness in Israels hearts was the winning combination. Johns mission was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. Luke 1:16-17; Luke 1: 76. John came from God in order to “bear witness of the light” of Christ, John 1: 7-8. John accomplished his mission.
Take a look back to your baptism and reconnect with those feelings, the lessons and studies you did to prepare, look at the desire you had to be baptized. That is part of your foundation. We need to look back at those moment to remember and to be re-grounded.
May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with you