My favorite New Testament Christian
By LENARD HUEBSCHER – Gazette Columnist
The question is asked: "Who is your favorite New Testament Christian?"
This is certainly a hard question to answer. Most of the time we think of the Apostle Paul or Timothy. We often forget one of the greatest. John 1:7 says: "The same came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe."
Perhaps the least understood and appreciated man in the Bible is the man who was the first Christian soul winner, missionary, martyr, disciple and pastor. He also was the first to make disciples for Christ, to acknowledge His deity and to baptize converts to Christ. Also he was the first imprisoned for his faith, and to teach concerning Christ, as Christ commanded in His great commission.
John the Baptist is often mistakenly called the last Old Testament prophet. But that was Malachi – 400 years earlier. John was actually the first Christian. He leaped in joyous recognition of Christ while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44). In fact, he uniquely (apart from Christ) was ("filled with the Holy Spirit" even from his mothers womb (Luke 1:15).
He was such a godly man that he was often mistaken for Christ. John the apostle even had to stress that John the Baptist was not really "That Light," but that God had sent him to bear witness of the true Light-Jesus Christ (John 1:8). Christ Himself testified that no greater man than John the Baptist (not even Noah, Abraham, Job, Moses, or Daniel.) had ever been born (Matthew 11:9-11).
In no sense was the message of John an "Old Testament" message. He preached the deity of Christ, redemption by His sacrificial death and salvation only through faith in Him (John 1:34,29, 3:36). He "began" the gospel message (Mark 1:1-2). And he baptized and taught disciples whom he then directed to Christ. Their baptism was "Christian baptism." In fact John had baptized Christ Himself.
Finally, the time came when he (John the Baptist) "had [made] ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke1:17). He was imprisoned by Herod and executed because of his faithful witness for Christ. He had given the "knowledge of salvation to His people" (Luke 1:77).
What an example for Believers today to follow. And yet John would say, "Don’t follow me, follow the Christ!"
And we would answer, "Yes, John, but we praise God for your faithful service, testimony and life."
And we remember how this faithful one was quoted in the Gospel of John saying, "The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came through Christ Jesus." So, with John, look to the Savior today – the Light of the World, the one who came into the world to save sinners.
If you have a "Bible Question" write to Pastor Lenard Huebscher, 12721 75th St. North, Stillwater MN 55082 or call (651) 430-3132. www.stillwaterbaptist.net.