What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon, “Call Him John”?
Q1: What were Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives going to name John?
Q2: After Zechariah wrote John’s name on a tablet, regained his speech, and praised God, everyone who heard about this asked what?
Q3: Was John counted great among men or God?
Q4: When was John filled with the Holy Spirit?
Q5: Was John a prophet?
Q6: How was John’s purpose different from other prophets before him?
Q7: Is John greater than Noah, Abraham, Moses, and King David?
Q8: Does the Bible say that many greater come after John?
Sermon Summary & Answers
Continuing on, Luke is about to tell us more about Zechariah’ and Elizabeth’s baby, John the Baptist. In Luke 1:57-68, we learn that everyone is talking about these things and asking, “What will this child turn out to be?” They had no idea living in the hillside of Judaea. But, we do have an idea. We know what they didn’t yet know. We know what the angel said in Luke 1:11-17. That this child will be great in the sight of the Lord, filled with Spirit even in the womb. He will turn out great! Great in the sight of the Lord. Perhaps not great in the sight of man.
From what we know, he wasn’t counted great among men. John was never recognized as a star athlete or musical prodigy. He would grow up and live on the wrong side of the tracks, in the wilderness, on the wrong side of greatness. He dressed in camel’s hair with a belt on his waist. Pastor Wilson explains that John doesn’t dress “right” or eat the “right” food with a diet of locusts and wild honey. There is nothing about this man John that men would say is great. We must challenge ourselves, and the way we determine greatness. When the angel said, God said, something is great, it is great. The angel is telling us that John is great in the way that matters most because John is great in the eyes of God.
We read that John will drink no wine or liquor. This (John’s dedication) is a dedication made for him by the angel. Pastor Wilson tells us this is a peculiar dedication. It is one that a child of God may choose, however, it is just that – a choice you made. But this is not a choice because God commanded John. John’s commitment is made before John was even conceived. Although, this is curious, it is not unfamiliar in relation to the Old Testament about not drinking wine in Numbers 6:1-4 where there is a vow of separation. Nazirite means “one separated” or dedicated to the Lord. To do that, a man or woman would not drink for the duration of the separation. Numbers 6:5-6 shares they should not cut their hair or go to funerals for that time period too, which again is determined by the individual not God. So, Pastor Wilson wants us to see that it would not have been considered normal to not drink or avoid haircuts and funerals. It’s an individual’s choice for a temporary time. Back to John, John’s command is not temporary but for life. Luke 1:15 doesn’t say anything about haircuts or avoiding dead people but still this is a Nazarite lifestyle separated from what’s normal.
Furthermore, the angel presents a contrast in that John will not drink wine but will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18-21 Paul mirrors this when he says don’t get drunk, be filled with the Spirit. We know believers should be filled with the Holy Spirit, but this happens when we’re saved, not before we are ever born. But with John, it is going to happen while he is still in his mother’s womb. John is a great, unique individual filled with the Holy Spirit from his conception!!
This entire event reminds us of the One who gives life – God. And we clearly see that the purpose of a man or woman’s life is determined by God and established by God at conception. This child (John) is not only viable, alive, and a gift – it is a child filled with the Holy Spirit.
We see this outside dedication and inside filling of the Holy Spirit. We also see John the prophet who will turn fathers back to children and urge an attitude of righteousness. He will get a people ready. Prophets call people back to righteousness. In the long line of Old Testament prophets, John is the last Old Testament prophet. His ministry as prophet we will see in Luke 3 where his call to Israel to repent includes the warning “or else”.
His father, Zechariah, knew well how people treated prophets; they stoned and killed the prophets. Surely, Zechariah rejoiced at how great it was to have a child that is great in the eyes of God and called to be a prophet, but also worried about what that would mean. John’s life is chosen for him. He isn’t choosing this. And his parents likely would not have chosen this for him. As Romans 9 illustrated, it is God who chooses.
John’s purpose as a prophet was also peculiar from the other prophets that were called. John was sent to turn Israel back like the other prophets, but John was also the forerunner coming before the Messiah. He would be the one to see Jesus walking by and say, that’s Him! That’s John’s purpose that no one else ever had. Only John would say, “that’s him!”
Now, there are degrees of greatness, and John was called great. How great? In Matthew 11:7-9 Jesus is speaking about John living in the wilderness: What did you expect? A prophet! Yes, He is a prophet, but he is more than a prophet. Then Jesus says (Matthew 11:10-11): of those born of women, there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist until Jesus. So, when everyone asked what will become of baby John? He is the greatest of all people ever born of women. Greater than Noah, greater than Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, greater than Daniel, greater than Moses, greater than king David!
“That’s how great this man is. It is staggering to conceive someone greater than all those men.”Pastor Steve Wilson
Why is he greater you ask? Because, he pointed out Jesus, and none of those men ever had that privilege. John will say, “Behold, the Lamb of God” and that makes him the greatest who had ever lived. Call him John! His will be a peculiar purpose as the forerunner that prepares the way and finally identifies the Lamb of God. There is nothing greater.
Personal application: as great as John was, the Bible says, there are many greater who come after him. It’s what Jesus said in Matthew 11:11, the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
“If what marked John as the greatest was that he could identify the Lamb of God before Jesus was crucified and risen, anyone after who says by this book [the Bible], this is the Lamb of God. This is what He has done. Jesus says that is the greatest privilege to mark anyone’s life.”Pastor Steve Wilson
If all we ever achieved is related to our jobs or school, and we don’t declare our savior, Jesus, then we have not met our potential. John was great, are you? Are you pointing to Jesus? Because that’s what makes men and women great.
“There is no greater task. May God find us faithful.”Pastor Steve Wilson
Did you find this quiz and sermon summary helpful? Log on to gccbg.com/blog each week for the latest Q&A. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- After his father, Zechariah.
- “What then is this child going to be?”
- He was counted great in the sight of the Lord.
- In the womb.
- Because he can point out Jesus.
- Yes. He identifies the Lamb of God.
- Yes. As great as John was, the Bible says there are many greater who come after him.