John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’” ( John 1:23 NLT)
Keys to the preaching of John the Baptist may have been humility of character and the simplicity of his message.
Billy Graham, at one of his crusades, had his Bible stolen. He responded, “I don’t know why they would want it, my name is right on it.” He was oblivious to the fact that was precisely why they wanted it.
At one point in time, John’s disciples came to him concerned that people were coming to Jesus to be baptized instead of John. John answered them by saying, He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less (John 3:30 NLT). It was not about John but Christ. John’s humility was not just theoretical but practical—to make Christ known, he was willing to be less known. Alistair Begg, the Senior Pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, says the two main things a preacher must do is “prepare yourself and forget yourself.” It does not matter what people think about your messages, provided you have preached the Word of God to the best of your ability.
Simplicity is the second key. John had a two-part sermon, repent and be baptized. He rarely ever strayed from his simple message. Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.” Preachers often try to develop new or deeper spiritual truths and propagate foolishness. Preachers can learn much from that short retort—keep it simple stupid.
Those of us who preach the Word of God today can learn a lot from the ministry of John the Baptist. Walk in humility, keep your messages simple, and leave the results to God.
The image is used with permission from Microsoft.