The Prophetic Anointing & Voice Must Continue

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses thirty through fifty-six of this New Testament book. “And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mark 6:30-31).

 

            “And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? Go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men” (Mark 6:32-44).

 

            “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling and rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up into them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:45-52).

 

 

            “And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, and ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole” (Mark 6:53-56).

 

            When you come to the words found in this passage you will find they are directly linked and connected to an earlier set of verses within this same chapter. If you look back within this chapter you will find the Lord Jesus calling unto Himself the twelve disciples and ordaining and appointing them as apostles—and not only as apostles but also as ambassadors for Him in the midst of the earth. Earlier in this portion of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus calling unto Himself the twelve disciples and giving them power over unclean spirits, over all manner of sickness and disease and even to raise the dead. Moreover the Lord Jesus would give them authority to raise the dead and to preach the gospel of the kingdom unto the poor. Jesus would ordain and appoint them and send them two by two into all the neighboring towns, villages and cities before His face teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider how the Lord Jesus would in the flesh be limited to a single place at a single time. So long as the Lord Jesus was the Word which was in the flesh He was confined to that physical body which was prepared for Him and all the limitations and restrictions that came with it. He who was once omnipresent and could be in all places at all times would now be limited and restricted to the parameters of time and space and could only be in a single place at a single time. What’s more is that this would in most cases require those who desired and sought after Him to come unto those places where He was that they might hear the words which He would speak and witness and experience the works which He would work in the midst of the earth.

 

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with the words and language which are found in the ninth and tenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the ninth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find the Lord Jesus being moved with compassion as He would heal all manner of sickness and disease, open blinded eyes and deaf ears and even cast out unclean spirits. What’s more is that it would be this compassion which was present within the heart and soul of the Lord Jesus that would so move Him for and toward the people that He would instruct His disciples concerning prayer for the harvest—and not only pray to the Lord of the harvest but also pray unto the Lord of the harvest that laborers might be sent forth into the midst of the earth. The apostle Matthew writes and records how Jesus was moved with compassion toward them because He saw the people as sheep which had no shepherd and were scattered abroad throughout the land. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider how the Lord Jesus would in the very next chapter ordain and appoint His disciples to be ambassadors for the kingdom in the midst of the earth. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would ordain and appoint the disciples as an extension of Himself. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that the Lord Jesus would call the disciples unto Himself that He might send them forth into the cities, towns and villages before His face that they might preach the gospel of the kingdom and prepare the way before Him.

 

            Before I turn and direct my attention to the words which are found in the ninth and tenth chapters of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew I find it absolutely incredible the context that is found in the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel. We know from each of the four New Testament gospels that John the Baptist was born into the world to be the prophetic and Messianic messenger who would indeed prepare the way for the Messiah. We know that John the Baptist was indeed born into the earth to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness proclaiming “Prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight.” Scripture makes it very clear that John the Baptist was born into the earth that He might be the prophetic voice that would call men to repentance—and not only call men to repentance but also prepare men and women for the kingdom through baptism of repentance unto and for the remission of sins. This is something we must needs recognize and understand—particularly and especially when we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture. The context found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by John Mark presents us with the ordaining and appoint of the twelve disciples as ambassadors of the kingdom who would not only be an extension of the Lord Jesus but who would also go before His face. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is it was at this time when John the Baptist was dead and no longer present in the midst of the earth. That prophetic voice and witness which was manifested in the earth was put to death by Herod who had him beheaded in the prison after being coerced and manipulated by Herodias his brother Philip’s wife and her daughter who so pleased him that he vowed a vow that he would not break.

 

            The more I read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the strong connection between the death of John the Baptist and the ordaining of the twelve disciples into the earth. Not only this but I can’t help but see the strong connection which existed between the imprisonment of John the Baptist and the emergence of the Lord Jesus in the midst of the earth. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning John the Baptist it’s that he was ordained and appointed to be the voice and messenger who would go before the Messiah in the earth and prepare the way for His coming and His appearing. John the Baptist would indeed teach and preach unto the people and call men to repentance for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. What’s more is John the Baptist would baptize men and women in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and would call them to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. In addition to this John the Baptist recognized that he was not the Messiah and that he was called to be a prophetic voice that drew people to and pointed men unto the Messiah. John the Baptist recognized and understood that his main purpose and objective in the earth was to teach and preach the kingdom unto those who were present during his generation and baptize them in water unto repentance for the remission of sins. John the Baptist recognized and understood that he was not the Messiah and that he was called to point men to the Messiah who was to come.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering this and how absolutely incredible it is for John the Baptist was not the Messiah and would indeed call and draw men unto the Messiah who was to come. In fact when you come to the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find on two different occasions John the Baptist proclaiming unto those who were present that Jesus who came forth from Nazareth was indeed the Lamb of God which took away the sins of the world. This is something we must needs understand for John the Baptist recognized that there would be one who would come after him who was mightier than he was whose sandals he was not worthy to loose. John the Baptist would indeed baptize men and women in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and would preach the kingdom of heaven was at hand that he might prepare and make ready all those who came unto him for the manifestation and appearance of the Messiah. If you want to truly understand the ministry of John the Baptist you must needs recognize that he was manifested and brought forth into the earth that he might call and draw men unto the Messiah who was to come. John the Baptist knew and understood that he was not the Messiah and that he was indeed called to draw and call men unto the Messiah who was present in the midst of the earth during his generation. This is something we must needs understand for when Herod had John the Baptist put in prison there would be those who would think that this was somehow a sign of disapproval from God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            We know from Scripture that Herod had John the Baptist committed into prison on account of Herodias his brother Philip’s wife for he had taken her in marriage. John the Baptist would denounce and rebuke Herod for having his brother Philip’s wife and as a direct result of this Herodias would have had John the Baptist killed. Herod, however, was unwilling to put to death John the Baptist for the people regarded him as a prophet and as a good man. Not only this but Herod also heard the words which the John the Baptist had preached and did so gladly. Rather than having John the Baptist be put to death Herod would instead have him committed into prison. This prophetic voice of one crying in the wilderness who would prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah would indeed be taken out of the way that the Messiah might indeed be manifested in the earth. At one point both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus would baptize during those days, however we know that it wasn’t the Lord Jesus who baptized but rather His disciples. This is something we must needs understand and acknowledge for when Herod had John the Baptist put in prison—although he committed him to prison on account of Herodias his wife—there was something much greater that was at work. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Herod had John the Baptist committed into prison there was something supernatural and spiritual which was taking place behind the scenes as it was as if John had served his purpose and mission within the earth. John the Baptist had indeed pleased and brought glory and honor unto the living God and his being imprisoned was undoubtedly a mark of the pleasure and delight of the living God declaring that he had indeed fulfilled and served his purpose in his generation.

 

            It’s important to note that John the Baptist’s being committed in prison was not the displeasure of the living God but rather was a sign and mark of the work which he had committed and completed during those days. John the Baptist had indeed fulfilled his purpose and assignment in the earth to call and draw men unto the Messiah and he had indeed prepared the way for His appearing and manifestation in the midst of the earth. This is something we must needs recognize for there would come a point in time when John the Baptist would be removed from the picture and from the equation that the Messiah might step on to the stage and fulfill that for which He was sent. John the Baptist wasn’t removed from the picture because he had somehow displeased the living God but rather because he had indeed fulfilled that for which he had been ordained, appointed, called and chosen by the living God. John the Baptist’s birth and ministry was foretold by the prophet Isaiah who prophesied of this voice of one crying in the wilderness calling for the way to be prepared before the Messiah and for his paths to be made straight. When John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod it was a tremendous sign of the pleasure and delight in the heart and soul of the living God as he had indeed fulfilled the purpose for which he had been sent. The time had come for John the Baptist to step aside—and perhaps not step aside but be removed from the picture that the true light and glory of the Messiah might be manifested in the earth.

 

            It is with all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in each of the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Within each of these gospel narratives we find accounts of the ministry of John the Baptist and how he would indeed prepare the way for the coming and appearing of the Messiah. Each of the four New Testament gospels paint a clear and vivid picture of this prophetic and Messianic messenger who would go before the face of the Messiah teaching and preaching unto all those who would come unto him as he prepared and made them ready for the Messiah who was indeed to come and be manifested in the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind we must needs recognize and understand this for it helps set the stage for what we find in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark. I would like to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in each of the four New Testament gospel narratives concerning the ministry of John the Baptist and how had indeed prepared and made ready the way for the Messiah for His coming and appearing in the earth. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these four gospels concerning the prophetic and Messianic ministry of John the Baptist who would indeed prepare the way for the Messiah and make the paths straight before Him that He might be manifested in the midst of the earth:

 

            “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a learthern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tre which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner: but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:1-12).

 

            “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:1-11).

 

            “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region fo Tachonities, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Ciaasphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made s traight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come: Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Luke 3:1-9).

 

            “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:10-14).

 

            “And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison” (Luke 3:15-20).

 

            “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:6-18).

 

            “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing” (John 1:19-28).

 

            “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore and I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

 

            “Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”  (John 1:35-36).

 

            “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Chirst, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthy, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:22-36).

 

            There is a great need for us to recognize and understand these passages of Scripture for if there is one thing John knew it’s that he wasn’t the Messiah. What’s more is that with that knowledge John the Baptist also recognized and understood that he was ordained and appointed by the living and eternal God to be the prophetic and Messianic forerunner for the one who was the Christ. John the Baptist knew and understood his role was to prepare the way for the coming and appearing of the Messiah and would prepare men and women for that moment when he would arrive and appear on to the scene. John the Baptist did indeed baptize men and women in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and directly linked to that is the powerful witness He would give concerning the Messiah. There would be two different times when John the Baptist would speak unto those who were present and would profess and proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as being the Lamb of God. In addition to this we find John the Baptist emphatically declaring unto those who were present that he did indeed come baptizing in water, however, there would come one after him who was greater than He who would baptizer with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Perhaps the single greatest witness and testimony of John the Baptist centered around the proclamation and profession of the Messiah and his declaration that the Messiah was indeed coming. John the Baptist would not only prepare men and women for the arrival of the Messiah and Christ but also for the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven which would arrive among them during the coming days.

 

            This is something we must needs recognize and understand as it calls and draws our attention to the prophetic witness and testimony which was present in the earth prior to the manifestation of the Messiah and leading up to the Messiah. The sole mission and purpose of John the Baptist was to bring witness and testimony unto the Messiah and the Christ. This would include his emphatically declaring that not only was he not the Messiah but neither was he the prophet which was spoken of and foretold. We must needs recognize and acknowledge this as it calls our attention to the mission which John the Baptist would engage himself in during those days which was indeed to prepare the hearts, minds and spirits of as many as would come unto him and believe the word which he preached. John the Baptist would spend his days baptizing men and women in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and would also preach repentance unto those who would come unto him. What’s more is that as you read the four gospel narratives you can and will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the people, the publicans and even the soldiers coming unto him asking what they must do. John the Baptist recognized that his entire purpose and mission was to decrease in the earth that the Messiah Himself might increase. John recognized that it was not his place to draw any attention to himself nor claim any glory and honor for himself among the people. John existed simply and solely to preach and proclaim the coming of the Messiah that men and women might have their hearts and minds ready for that moment when He would be manifested according to that which he had spoken.

 

            As you continue reading within the four gospel narratives you will find that eventually John the Baptist would be arrested and cast into prison by Herod. It would be Herod who would arrest John the Baptist on account of his rebuking him over Herodias his brother Philip’s wife whom he had taken unto himself as his own wife. Herodias would indeed have a quarrel and offense toward John the Baptist and would have had him killed were it not for the intervention of Herod. It was Herod who not only regarded John the Baptist as a prophet and as a just and righteous man but also recognized the respect the people had for him. Unwilling to put him to death Herod would choose to have him arrested and cast into the prison there in the midst of Galilee where he would remain. It would be while in prison John the Baptist would hear of the great works which the Lord Jesus would work within the earth during those days. John the Baptist would hear of all the mighty and wonderful works which the Lord Jesus worked during those days and would even send two of his own disciples unto Jesus asking if He was indeed the Messiah or if they needed to look for another. In response to this inquiry by these two disciples of John the Baptist Jesus would not only heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, open the blinded eyes and the deaf ears in their presence but would also send them back bearing witness of that which they had heard and seen. This is something we must needs recognize for it would be while John the Baptist was in prison the fame of the Lord Jesus would increase exponentially within the earth. In fact it’s almost as if John the Baptist could not be present alongside the Lord Jesus for his mission and purpose was to bear witness unto the Messiah and prepare men and women for His manifestation in the midst of the earth.

 

            The more I think about and consider the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the reality of John the Baptist being in prison and how this would lead to the Lord Jesus as being the only true voice from the living God during those days. Essentially the work which John the Baptist had begun was fulfilled and completed and he had served his purpose during those days and in his generation. This is something we must needs understand and acknowledge as it brings us face to face with John the Baptist seemingly removed from the picture and from the equation that the Messiah might have the preeminence. Please not that this isn’t to say there was anything inherently wrong with John the Baptist nor even that the living and eternal God was somehow displeased with Him. John the Baptist faithfully baptized men and women in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and he would faithfully preach repentance and the coming of the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is that John the Baptist’s greatest mission and assignment was to point men and women unto the Messiah as this was the sole reason for which he was raised up. John the Baptist would indeed draw and call men unto the Messiah—this despite the fact that he would not actually introduce the people to the Messiah personally. There were two distinct times when John the Baptist would profess concerning Jesus that He was the Lamb of God and it was revealed unto John that He upon whom the Spirit lighted upon would be the Messiah and the one who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

 

            When we read the words found within the four New Testament gospels we find that while John the Baptist was in prison the fame of the Lord Jesus would increase within the cities, towns and villages. Prior to the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the world after He emerged from the waters of the Jordan River in Baptism John the Baptist would indeed call and draw men unto the Messiah. John the Baptist would indeed prepare them for something that was greater than himself which was to come. It would be John the Baptist who would indeed call and draw men and women unto the Messiah as he would profess himself to be inferior to the Messiah who was to come. Up to the time John the Baptist was cast into prison he would faithfully bear witness and testimony unto the Messiah who was to come and would speak of One who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. After he was put in prison, however, he would hear of the works which Jesus would work in the earth although he himself could not see nor bear witness to them. John the Baptist would indeed hear of the works which the Lord Jesus wrought in the midst of the earth and would send two of his disciples to inquire whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. Undoubtedly John the Baptist spoke of Jesus as being the Lamb of God which would take away the sins of the world and yet while in prison he would hear of this one who was called Jesus of Nazareth working great works within the earth. It would be the report of these works that would cause John the Baptist to inquire whether or not He was the Messiah or if they should look to another. After John the Baptist was cast into prison he would start hearing of the works which the Messiah would work in the earth which was perhaps something he had not expected when He was preparing men and women for the coming of the Messiah within the earth.

 

            The words which we find in the New Testament gospels show us how after John the Baptist was cast into prison the ministry of the Lord Jesus would indeed take off and His fame would spread throughout the regions during those days. It’s almost as if the living and eternal God was pleased with the ministry and witness of John the Baptist that He would remove him from the picture that the Messiah might be manifested—and not only be manifested but also might have the preeminence within the earth. After John the Baptist was cast into prison the Lord Jesus Christ would begin being manifested unto all those who were present during those days. The Lord Jesus Christ would not only teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom but would also work the works of the Father among men. This is what was so significant about His declaration and proclamation in the synagogue of Nazareth for it would be in the synagogue the Lord Jesus Christ would declare how the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was upon Him because He had anointed Him to preach the good news unto the poor. Not only this but He was also sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to give sight to the blind and to work the works of the living God within the earth. After Jesus returned from the wilderness where He was tempted of the devil He would return in the power of the Holy Ghost and would Himself begin calling men unto repentance for the kingdom of heaven was at hand.

 

            I am convinced there is an instrinsic link and connection between the imprisonment of John the Baptist and the emergence and manifestation of Jesus the Christ in the earth. What’s more is I am also convinced there is a strong and powerful link which exists between the death of John the Baptist and the ordaining of the twelve disciples. We know that prior to the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the earth John the Baptist would be the prophetic witness which would bear testimony unto and for Him. Eventually, however, the time would come when the Lord Jesus Christ would need to have the preeminence in the earth which would result in John the Baptist’s imprisonment. This is something we must needs understand and recognize when reading these passages of Scripture for I am convinced that John the Baptist was cast into prison that Jesus might have the preeminence in the earth. John the Baptist was effectively removed from the picture that he who bore witness of the Light might give way to the Light. John the Baptist was himself not the Light but would indeed bear witness and bear testimony concerning the Light which was present in the midst of the earth. This is something we must needs recognize and acknowledge as it calls and draws our attention to the incredible reality of the Lord Jesus Christ would be manifested as the Light which would come into the world and shine in the midst of darkness. John the Baptist would indeed be manifested in the earth as the witness unto the Light while he himself was not the light. John the Baptist would himself bear witness to the Light which would be manifested in the midst of the earth and would eventually be removed from the picture that the Light might be manifested and shine brightly in the midst of the earth.

 

            With all of this in mind I find it absolutely necessary to draw your attention to the beheading of John the Baptist for it would be around the same time of the beheading of John the Baptist Jesus would ordain and appoint the disciples. What we must needs recognize concerning this is that just as John the Baptist would go before the Messiah as the forerunner and prophetic messenger so also would the disciples go before the face of the Lord Jesus. The disciples would be given authority over unclean spirits, and to heal the sick, and to cleanse the lepers, and to raise the dead and to preach the gospel of the kingdom unto the poor. Important to note is that which the disciples were given power and authority to do was vastly different from what John the Baptist did for he would baptize men and women in water unto repentance for the remission of sins and would preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. When we speak of the disciples we must needs recognize and understand that they were given authority over unclean spirits, over sicknesses, over leprosy and the like which was given unto them by Jesus Himself. After John the Baptist was beheaded Jesus would ordain and appoint His disciples to be those who would go forth in the cities, towns and villages as messengers and ambassadors for the kingdom during those days.

 

            I am convinced that in order to understand this all the more there is a great need for us to consider the narrative surrounding the death of John the Baptist in prison as well as the words which we find in the ninth and tenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. We must needs understand the strong and powerful link between the death of John the Baptist in prison and the ordaining and appointing of the twelve. What’s more is that not only would Jesus ordain and appoint the twelve to go forth before His face into the cities, towns and villages but He would also ordain and appoint seventy others who would go before His face in those cities, towns and villages. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the death of John the Baptist and how his death would indeed pave the way for the sending forth of the disciples—those who would not only be ambassadors of the kingdom but who would also go before the face of the Messiah. Oh it was indeed true John the Baptist would be a prophetic messenger and forerunner before the face of the Messiah prior to His being manifested in the earth, however, there would be twelve messengers and ambassadors for the kingdom and the Messiah found in the disciples. What’s more is there would even be seventy others who would be sent forth by the Lord Jesus during those days who would go before Him and bear witness to Him. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words found within the four gospels concerning the death of John the Baptist as well as the ordaining of the twelve and the seventy others who would go before the face of the Lord Jesus:

 

            “And king Herod herad of him; (for his name was spread abroad) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, it is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, it is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and whenm the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and canced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask for? And he said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb” (Mark 6:14-29).

 

            “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John the Baptist’s head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:1-12).

 

            “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having not shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).

 

            “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaues; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till he go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:1-15).

 

            “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways; Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be unto this house. And if the sons of peace be there, your pace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city” (Luke 10:1-12).

 

            “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works that had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to haven, shalt be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he despieth me despiseth him that sent me” (Luke 10:13-16).

 

            “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to treat on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you: but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17-20).

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which we find in these passages for in the days in which John the Baptist was beheaded Jesus would ordain and appoint His disciples to go before His face into the cities, towns and villages he would enter. What makes this truly interesting when you think about it is when you consider that John the Baptist was the prophetic messenger and forerunner for the Lord Jesus before He would be publicly manifested in the midst of the earth. Eventually and ultimately John the Baptist would be imprisoned—and not only imprisoned but also beheaded. It’s in the same context within this passage of Scripture we encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus ordaining and appointing the twelve disciples to be ambassadors of the kingdom—and more than simply ambassadors in the kingdom but also laborers in the harvest. Although John the Baptist would be dead and removed from the earth the Lord Jesus would raise up witnesses and those who would bear testimony concerning Him. Within the Synoptic gospels we read of the Lord Jesus not only ordaining and appointing the twelve disciples to go before His face but we also find Him ordaining and appointing seventy others also whom He would give authority and power over serpents and scorpions and to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible reality of those who would go forth before the face of the Messiah and Christ in the midst of the earth to proclaim and preach the gospel of the kingdom.

 

            I can’t help but read the words which are found in these passages of Scripture and come face to face with the truly astonishing truth surrounding the Lord Jesus ordaining and appointing seventy others in addition to His twelve disciples who would go before His face into the cities, towns and villages which were present in the land of Galilee during those days. The prophetic forerunner and witness who was John the Baptist would be imprisoned and beheaded and yet the Lord Jesus would raise up eighty-two individuals whom He would send out two by two before His face proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Essentially the Lord Jesus would raise up eighty-two forerunners and messengers who would go before his face who would be entirely and altogether different from John the Baptist for these would have power and authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, to heal the sick, to cleanse the lepers, to raise the dead and to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven. Oh this is something we must needs acknowledge and understand for eleven of the twelve disciples whom the Lord Jesus would raise up and appoint as laborers in the harvest would go on to be pillars within and for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. These would not only go before the face of the Messiah whilst He was still present in the midst of the earth but they would also bear witness unto and concerning Him after His resurrection and ascension proclaiming Him to have died, to have been buried and to have been raised from death to life and exalted unto the right hand of the Father. What’s more is these individuals would emphatically proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as being the Christ, the Messiah, Lord and the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God.

 

            There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for while John the Baptist would be the prophetic forerunner for the Messiah before His manifestation, and while the disciples and the seventy others would go before the face of the Messiah into the cities, towns and villages into which He would come so also are we and so also have we been called to be ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh there are no witnesses and forerunners to and for the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for we know and believe that He has already come in the flesh. What we must needs recognize and understand, however, is that the Lord Jesus is indeed coming back again. With this being said there is a great need for men and women to be prophetic messengers and forerunners teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom as we prepare and make ready men and women for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was something the apostles and those in the early church would also do during their days and something that would be found and contained within the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, both epistles written unto the Thessalonian saints, the epistle written by Jude, as well as the second epistle written by the apostle Peter to name a few. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to be such ambassadors, laborers and witnesses for and unto the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the earth. Oh that we would be those who are willing to be forerunners who would go before the face of the Lord Jesus Christ—not into cities, towns and villages into which He would come but rather His return and coming again. Let us purpose and resolve within our hearts and our spirits to be those witnesses who will tread upon serpents and scorpions in the midst of the earth and make ready a people for His return and coming again.

           

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