7As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 11“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
After addressing the doubt of John the Baptist while he was in prison, Jesus now gave a discourse to the multitudes about toughness in ministry.
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
John the Baptist was no fragile reed of the Jordan that shakes in the wind. He was no vacillator. He fearlessly presented the message of the Messiah. John did not take opinion polls to determine his message but went against prevailing belief.
But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
John was not a refined man well-dressed in fine clothes. He was an outcast prophet who lived in the wilderness. He wore horsehair shirts and dined on grasshoppers.
But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
The Baptist was “more than a prophet” in that he had the privilege of the pivotal role of introducing the Messiah to the world.
For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’
Jesus appealed to the Word of God to substantiate His point. This is a quotation from Malachi 3:1:
“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts.
John the Baptist was the fulfillment of prophecy himself. The forerunner of the Messiah fulfilled Isaiah 40:3
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
The least in the kingdom have greater privilege than even John the Baptist because John did not live to enjoy the kingdom.
Burning conviction is the basis of success in ministry.
God does not want people who waver in the wind. Many today are weak vacillators because they do not have substance in their souls. Very few people will cross the street much less walk out into the desert to see a commonplace, inane person speak without conviction.
Most churches grow and most preachers draw crowds because of burning conviction about what they believe. A Gallop Poll interview of 13,000 people who left the church asked what would it take to bring them back to church. The overwhelming answer was a preacher who burns with conviction and a people who practice what they believe. The reason the people of Israel left their temple and synagogues to hear John was to see him burn with passion about what he believed.
Much of the church today is weak, feminine, and like a reed that blows with the culture. Whichever way the culture goes, that is the way the church goes.
Dear Pastor Richison, I would agree with you that the church has become weak and I would even say irrelevant in many ways to the world. But please don't call it feminine. I hear this repeatedly which as a woman is very upsetting. I'm tired of the church labeling what they see wrong with the church as feminine. Do you think it would be better if it were masculine? No. The church is made up of men and women, and masculine and feminine are good because God created them. And both men and women are to blame for the state of the church. Sin is the problem. The church has partnered with the world in many ways and have become disobedient to the word of God. Criticizing the church as feminine is unfair and not scriptural. Whenever Paul criticized the church, he pointed to their sin and their tolerance of it (which the church still does today). He never once said it was too feminine or that it should be more masculine.
Alice, perhaps you are right; I changed the word to "feckless." The reason I put feminine in the first document is that the reason men do not attend evangelical churches (according to a study) that the church has become predominately feminine and men do not identify with its romantic songs, etc. I do believe the church needs to become more masculine in its presentations.
Thank you, for changing the word to feckless. I appreciate that. Interesting statement about the songs considering many of the song writers are men. I would agree about the songs actually. I don't particularly care for the music part of worship. I prefer the teaching.