So often John, the first cousin of Jesus whom we commonly refer to as John the Baptist, is only given a cursory glance in our reading of scripture. He went before Jesus preaching repentance, he baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, and he got into big trouble with Herod Antipas. And that’s about it. Move along, nothing much else to see here.
But who was John really? Why did he appear at all? How much contact did he have with Jesus before he began his ministry? What was his relationship with our heavenly father, and Jesus? Was he a political stirrer as well as a spiritual loner? Why all that self-denial? What shaped his radicalism? How was he received by the community?
I’ve been reading and re-reading the first part of Matthew 14 for some time now and trying to get myself inside the life of this most fascinating man of God. Then last night I did some journaling and decided to ask Jesus to show me more about John’s life. Below is word for word what I thought the Lord was telling me. The result was so intriguing that I decided I’d share it with you and let you decide whether it was my imagination or a little divine glimpse into the true nature of John and his mission…
“John was like a brother. He was my spiritual brother and human cousin. He was the first-born spiritual brother in the global church, the very first Christian. He knew exactly who I was. He never doubted. His mother retold to him the story of my birth and journey to earth many times.
John was chosen to be the last and greatest prophet, yet the first and greatest Christian, the living link between the two covenants. John was dedicated to the Father and considered it a great honour to be chosen for the role the Father gave him. He walked closely with the Father daily, denying himself the usual and expected lifestyle of a priest’s son serving in the temple, the life of a Levite priest. He knew he had been chosen as a different kind of priest of a new order, of the order of Melchizedek. John carried this burden with dignity and pride, with poise and a great sense of purpose. But it was more than purpose, it was with great urgency and force. He was not a timid man but a man that was single minded like an arrow shot from its bow. He was the spiritual opposite of Pharaoh.
John and I met many times before I began my ministry. We talked about the Father and I told him many things about the Father. John knew more about our heavenly Father and the Kingdom of God than anyone born on earth till that time. I revealed it all to him. That’s why he resisted baptizing me. But he knew the time would come when he would slide away so that I could shine.
He was uncompromising in his determination to do his part to usher in the Kingdom of God. He was fearless and deferred not to rank. All were sinners and sin galled his spirit. People loved him because of this. People feared him because of this.
You will meet him in the future, and both rejoice together in my Father’s house.”