Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In our text for today the figure of John the Baptist appears. Who was John the Baptist? According to our Lord in the text, John was a prophet and more a prophet. He was prophesied in the Old Testament as he who will prepare the way of the Lord, that is, the Messiah.
Juan was Jesus' cousin. When the archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit, who would be called Jesus, Maria went to her relative, Elisabet. Elisabet was six months pregnant with John the Baptist for her husband, Zacarias. When Maria found Elizabeth, the child in her belly jumped to greet Him in Mary's womb.
Many years later, when the time came for Jesus to begin His public ministry, He came to John to be baptized in the Jordan River. And John said to the people, He is greater than me, for He will not baptize only with water, but with the water and fire, which is the Holy Spirit.
John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God sent these men and spoke through the prophets. The prophets were not only Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, also Abraham and King David were prophets. But, usually, the Spirit sent these prophets when the people had forgotten the covenant that God made with them in front of Mount Sinai, to recall His promises and warn against the judgment that was to come. John was the last of these prophets sent specifically to the descendants of Abraham to call them to repentance before the arrival of the Savior promised to the patriarchs.
Therefore, John baptized the people in the river in a rite that symbolized their repentance until Jesus came to be baptized by him. John told him, Lord, it would be better for you to baptize me, but Jesus answered him, this is the will of God. And in the baptism of Jesus was present in a visible and audible way, all three persons of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, we baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, because all three are present in every Christian baptism.
And with the baptism of Jesus, the ministry of John was over, because the Messiah had begun His ministry. So, very soon after, John was imprisoned by the tetrarch Herod Antipas, because of his denunciation of Herod's adultery with his brother's wife. And John died in prison, because the daughter of Herod's wife danced for Herod and his friends at a party, and because they were all satisfied with their dancing, Herod promised her anything she wanted. And she asked for John's head on a plate.
However, at this time, John still lived and had two disciples. For the benefit of these two, John sent Jesus with this question: Are you the One who was to come, or should we wait for another?
"And Jesus answered and said to them," Go and tell John the things you hear and see, the blind see and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are resurrected and the poor are preached the gospel. And blessed is he that is not scandalized in me. "
That is to say, all the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But, Jesus said something more about John. "Assuredly, I say to you, Among those born of women, no one greater was born than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
John was the greatest of the prophets not because of the holiness of his person, but because he saw the fulfillment of the Word of God in his earthly life. What was hidden from the others was revealed to John. And John remained faithful to the Word of God until the end.
Said the Lord, "What did you go out to see in the wilderness, a reed shaken by the wind?" Also, in our reading of the Old Testament (Isaiah 40: 1-8), Isaiah says, "The grass withers, the flower withers; But the word of our God remains forever. "
Those who publicly preach the gospel must be faithful too. St. Paul says in the epistle (1 Corinthians 4: 1-5) "Let men have us as ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now, administrators are required, that each one be found faithful. I have very little to be judged by you, or by human judgment; and I do not even judge myself. Because I do not have a bad conscience at all, but that's not why I'm justified; but the one who judges me is the Lord. "
As in the Old Testament and the New Testament, the mark of a good preacher is faithfulness to the Word of God. Our teaching must be equal to the testimony of the prophets and the apostles, because we have to give an account to God himself. In this way, the Lord keeps his Word in its purity for each one of the believers, for the assurance of eternal life. In this we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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