“Text For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”Luke 7 vs 23
I, Ogba Victor – a called servant of Christ through the Spirit of God unto the Church washed in blood.
I once was trying to figure out how John the Baptist was the greatest prophet ever before the coming of our Lord and Saviour – Jesus Christ. I am also very sure many still ask that question. However, after this article, you will come to light with what true greatness is; and then you and I will appreciate the great man who baptized our lord. Amen
Who was John? John was a minister of God. Yes! For in the fivefold ministerial gifts, John was called as a Prophet to Israel. A prophet and a forerunner to the Lord. What did John wear as clothing? – Nothing to boast of compared to our time. What was the size of his ministry? – Negligible. What did he preach? – Only but repentance and baptism. How many miracles were recorded for him? – None. What was the size of his pocket and net worth? Very much negligible. But how great was he compared to Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, the Major and the Minor prophets? – The Greatest!!
We live a perverse world working against God, his ways, his truths and his plans. For the ways of the world negates the ways of God says the Bible. It therefore pleases the Spirit of Jesus for whom I was called to serve to make His churches know what greatness to God is like; even unto ministers of God.
In our Churches today, if many were told to name great men of God, they’ll mostly start from those who have mustered big churches. I take nothing from them that have mustered great worship centers; but great worship centers does not define great men of God and we will see that soon. Many will call out the renowned Christian writers with books read all over the world. Many will name big fat-pocket international men of God, and those who can pull a large crowd with name and popularity. Some define great men of God by how well and eloquent they can preach, and others by how long they can last during sermons. Others will base the greatness of ministers on their TV ratings and viewership.
Now, let us look at our dear great John and what his ministry was like.
1. John had no mega church.
2. He had no mega followers and the size of his ministry before men was very much negligible.
3. He had no properties, houses or anything to be proud of.
4. Had no record of miracles.
5. And even the days of his ministry were shortened.
But somehow, to this desert man Jesus said “this is the greatest Prophet since Adam to now (BC)”.
Looking into John’s life we can learn Gods view on true greatness. For God doesn’t measure greatness the way we men see and measure. Greatness in the sight of God is not in the longevity of years in the ministry. True greatness of a man of God or a minister of Christ is not in the size of his congregation. It is not in his great assets, fat-pocket, properties, monumental worship centers built and pastored or still pastoring, the number of pulpits ministered on. Traveling to countries, preaching Jesus is good but it doesn’t define a great servant of Christ. How popular a man of God is and the crowd he pulls is good but might not define greatness before God.
Herein is true greatness for a man of God. When he recognizes his calling and ministry, lives it, works it, fulfills it according to the will and plan of God with all sincerity, humility, soberness, and without any form of compromise in service to the God, to the church and to humanity. All this he does in the power of Holy Ghost and with presence of God strong in his ministry. Such a minister has a shot at greatness.
Herein is a true great minister of God – A minister who recognizes that ministry is not given for self-edification and glorification. He understands that ministry is a call to serve; service to the sheep, the church and the Master. The Ministry is for the sheep, the edifying grace is for the church and the glory belongs to God. The reward of such minister is in heaven so he labours hard in service.
We must remember that when John was told that Jesus was baptizing people; this report was probably given by those who had wanted him to become annoyed that another was stealing his ministry, his messages, his potential followers and members. He disappointingly replied them, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Often have I prayed to the Lord to give me a heart like John. John was a man who recognized his master. His understanding about ministry was top notch. His understanding that himself must go down and his master must excel over him was excellent. He wasn’t after popularity or name that would cause him to ditch the name of He who he was working for. The ministry was not for him to be edified and glorified but that He who owns the sheep must be glorified by his sheep. John in our own time would probably remain the second greatest to Jesus our King.
I have seen a man of God warn that no one should preach his message. John would disagree with this. John would say just like Paul “Let the kingdom of my master be raised. Let Jesus be preached to his church and let his name be lifted even if my message is audiocopied by another. For all that matters is that Jesus is preached”. A man like John would never do anything that will affect and cause the sheep to derail from He who owns the sheep. John was a typical Jordan boy: boys who have sold pride and self for the work they were called to. Proud people do not go to Jordan and this is why Captain Naaman (2 Kings 5) at first rejected to bath in Jordan. Men still savaged by self who haven’t sold their souls totally to God and their ministerial task does not belong to Jordan. In John was found everything God required from a great minister of God.
One day I asked a man who was greater between Late Reinhard Bonke and some of our so called ‘great’ mega church pastors with mega establishments. Well, if you answer this question correctly and honestly, you should be a judge in this matter. I in no way imply that great men don’t build and muster great and mega churches. But my message says that those things for which we see and allocate greatness are the least things God looks at when he judges greatness. It is possible that true great men have these things by which the world defines greatness, however those things are far from why they are great men in the sight of God.
Finally, we must listen to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. For he who lacks wisdom and grace for these things must ask form God who gives to all men.
Remember to admonish one another in these truth, it shows our true son-ship in Christ. May the God of peace and light keep us from falling till he returns in Glory. Amen!!!