Text: Mark 1
"For obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:2
THE MINISTRY OF THE FORERUNNER
The ministry of the forerunner was foretold by two prophets. Isaiah was a pre-exilic prophet who uttered a prophecy concerning the forerunner of the Messiah. Malachi, a post-exilic prophet, also the last known writing prophet of the Old Testament era also prophetically made mention of the ministry of the forerunner.
In order to understand and appreciate the ministry of John the Baptist, we need to comprehend what a forerunner is.
1. He is a herald (in the ancient Near Eastern political world)
A forerunner is sent forth by one who has great authority. His task is to prepare the way of a visiting dignitary. He will make all the preparation that is necessary to ensure that the visit of the dignitary would be pleasant and smooth going.
2. He is a messenger (in the religious/spiritual world)
The forerunner is also one sent forth with tremendous authority. His authority comes from none other than God Himself. His task is also to prepare people for the visit of a great dignitary- the Messiah Himself.
THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAH
Let us take a look at the prophecy of Isaiah, since it appeared first (chronologically).
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth.”
THE MALACHI PROPHECY
Let us also consider the prophecy of Malachi. It will provide useful information about the forerunner.
“Behold, I send My messenger,
and he will prepare the way before Me.”
THE ATTEMPT TO COMBINE BOTH PROPHECIES
What is the significance of the two prophets speaking of the same thing? Two things may be highlighted:-
1. Importance of the ministry of the Forerunner
2. Greater Importance of the Messiah introduced by the Forerunner