What’s John doing here?

Posted on November 19, 2010


The entire Bible is about one Person: Christ. The Old Testament points forward to Christ in stories and types and the New Testament reveals Christ openly and clearly. However, before Christ came, someone else needed to come: John the Baptist. This is the first striking figure in the New Testament. But why did Christ need to be preceded by anyone?

We have seen that the aspect presented by Matthew is that Christ is the King-Savior. Christ in Matthew is a King of the kingly tribe of Judah. There is a principle in the Old Testament that the priesthood always “recommends” or introduces the kingship. This can be seen in 1 Samuel where Samuel “recommends” David to be king.

Christ, as a king, needed to be recommended by a priest. John’s father Zachariah was a priest. Therefore, John was of the priestly tribe of Levi, and John recommended Christ to the people. This was John’s function.

Today, we are waiting for Jesus to come again. But He is looking for some who, like John the Baptist, would be real New Testament priests. When we think of a priest, we may get ideas like liturgy, incense, or black robes. That is an Old Testament idea. Paul said in Romans 15:16 “That I might be…a laboring priest of the gospel of God.” To be real priests of the gospel, we must be “John the Baptists.”

How? Firstly, John was in the wilderness, outside of religion and culture. To be real priests, we must reject all religious or cultural forms and instead, meet with believers where God’s presence is, even if it seems a little “wild.” This principle is consistent with prevailing revivals of the past few centuries.

The second point about John is his message: “Repent.” We must repent. Repentance in John’s preaching is making a turn. God’s focus is His kingdom, but ours is not. Because of this, we need to repent, change our mind, and make a turn in our life-pursuit. We must pray, “Lord, forgive me. I am in rebellion. I am not under your ruling. I have only been ruled by myself. Grant me a true repentance for my rebellion and bring me under your ruling.”