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John the Baptist: The Greatest Among Women (14 of 18)
Series: Getting Acquainted With People of the New Testament
1. The Announcement of John the Baptist
a) The Message He Delivered
b) The Messiah He Declared
2. The Arrest of John the Baptist
a) The Doubts of John
b) The Death of John
3. The Assessment of John the Baptist
a) The Personal Assessment
b) The Preeminent Assessment
There are many personalities in the New Testament, but unique among them all is John the Baptist. F.B. Meyer wrote:
Every sign attests the unique and singular glory of the Baptist. Not that his career was signalized by the blaze of prodigy and wonder, like the multiplication of the widow's meal or the descent of the fire of heaven to consume the altar and the wood; for it is expressly said that "John did no miracle." Not that he owed anything to the adventitious circumstances of wealth and rank; for he was not a place-loving courtier, "clothed in soft raiment or found in kings' courts." Not that he was a master of a superb eloquence like that of Isaiah or Ezekiel; for he was content to be only "a cry" – short, thrilling, piercing through the darkness, ringing over the desert plains. Yet, his Master said of him that "among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist"; and in six brief months, as one has noticed, the young prophet of the wilderness had become the centre to which all the land went forth. We see Pharisees and Sadducees, soldiers and publicans, enthralled by his ministry; the Sanhedrim forced to investigate his claims; the petty potentates of Palestine caused to tremble on their thrones; while he has left a name and an influence that will never cease out of the world.
If we were honest, we would have to admit that there have been times when we fished for compliments. John never fished for compliments, yet was paid the highest compliment that was ever made to someone. The life and ministry of John was never about him. There was never any self promotion or self exaltation. But as Meyer said, "he left a name and an influence that will never cease out of the world."
How do you measure real greatness? This world often confuses greatness with popularity. Just because someone is well known does not necessarily mean they are great. Greatness is sometimes associated with position and power. Hitler was a powerful man, but there was certainly nothing great about him. Real greatness does not lie in ones popularity, position, or the power they may possesses. A.W. Tozer said, "True greatness lies in character, not in ability or position."
As we will see later in our study, Jesus defined John the Baptist as a great man. He had popularity, but it was not his popularity that made him great. He had power--divine power--but it was not his power that made him great. His greatness lay in the kind of man he was.
What kind of man was John the Baptist? Let's get better acqu ...
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