He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30 KJV
The ministry of John is actually an ending of a prophetic dispensation. This dispensation has a objective to prepare a people, a nation for the Coming of the Messiah. Prophecy concerning a Messiah began to be understood and prayer groups grew in Jerusalem to pray for this “Consolation” as Luke 2 relates.
Jesus speaks of John in Matthew 11, and speaks of him as the greatest Old Testament prophet. He puts him in the Old Testament line referring to the preparation for His first Coming.
In reviewing this theme of Voice in the Wilderness We see that John is a ministry which has a definite beginning and then a ending. This ending is not his own but ending a dispensation. It is important to recognise the times and seasons in God.
In the changes we must see that endings are beginnings. These endings must occur for the most complete and perfect manifest.
It is obvious that recently there have been marked changes. No-one forgets 11th September 2001 when the World Trade Centre fell and what ensued was the so called war against terrorism. Then Afghanistan and Iraq became two states with a vacuum left by war. The middle east being an arena for groups of terrorists which have shocked the world with great violence.
It is obvious that all seek peace but there are those who understand that peace can be imposed and with a global state with the giving up of sovereignty and it seems that a peace that is being defended has no foundation in the Prince of Peace.
So up to September 2001 a season ended and a new panorama opened up.
However in the Church there is no sign of great efforts to unify. There is still the defence of denominations and the over emphasis on certain doctrines and a defence of a order of meetings. We are still far from unifying as there are 40 thousand of these denominations.
There has to be an end brought to the dimension of John the Baptist. Malachi promises that Elijah would come before the Great and Dreadful day of the Lord bringing reconciliation.
John and his preaching brought all to him no respect of their class or standing in the society. The message is repentance and turning around. In the waters of Jordan did there come a greater unity and expectation for new times.
When Jesus came John knew the end had come. The end of the Temple, the end of the Old priesthood.
Today we must understand that when God tells us to close something or end an activity we know that great change is on the way.
Our “endings” are never true endings when we have an eternal existence and Destiny. Hebrews 11 says that the Patriarchs saw vision and had promises which did not come to fruition in their lives but they embraced them from afar as being those who saw death and physical end as a beginning.
Therefore as John saw the Lamb of God, the Spirit descending he knew the fullness was coming.
In our day we must discern the “endings” as doorways to eternal “doorways ” to understand and live eternal mysteries.
Unfortunately because of tough and complex daily lives we can search for relief for our souls and search the Word for a daily word but we pray that some of eternity comes to annul the sense of tiredness and sense of anguish.
In our original text we see that is made mention that all would go to Jesus instead of John for Baptism. John is alerted to this. John instead of seeing this as an opportunity for religious conflict read into its significance residing in the fact that Jesus had come to bring completion and end one Covenant and institute a New Covenant in Himself.
He who ends one thing is great says Jesus in Matthew 11. Jesus esteems John highly as in human terms because his ministry is the most difficult; being that he closed down, finished, ended the Old. We like to start things, build up.
May we today grasp the eternal implications of our “endings” as new beginnings!