The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived
In this passage of Scripture, the Lord Jesus says about John the Baptist that he was the greatest man, born of women, up until that particular time. When you study the conclusion of the life of John the Baptist is certainly does not seem to be the conclusion of a successful ministry. In fact, it seems to be quite a sad ending to the ministry of John. John had been quite a preacher. He had had quite a ministry. He was courageous, fiery, and confrontational. He concludes his ministry in a prison. For about a year he had been in a prison five miles east of the Dead Sea. The place where he was really not prison as we would consider one today.
It was little more than a hole in the ground. It was a dark, humid, smelly place. If there was a window at all it was a very small window. This is the place where John comes to the conclusion of his ministry. He seems to come to the end of it all in failure, embarrassment and in shame. What you have to remember is that John had lived for the Lord all of his life. The Scripture says that John was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was even born. He was a Nazarite, totally dedicated to God. He had surrendered himself to be God's spokesman to the age. He had fulfilled right down to the detail everything that God had told him to do. Now he comes to the end of it all in prison and seems to be a laughing stock in the nation and a failure.
That is not exactly what we would call success or the conclusion of a meaningful career. The fact is that it was not going to get any better for John. John was never going to get out of jail.
In fact, John was going to be beheaded. It certainly would not have been appropriate to sing to John, ''Something good is going to happen to you this very day-.'' In a real sense John's ministry and his life is an illustration to us of a man who lived for the Lord.
I suppose we all know somebody who has lived their entire life for the ...
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